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Creativity Squared: Amy O’Donnell on a Love for Trendspotting

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Ardmore's account director on trendspotting, cultural shifts and creating connection

Creativity Squared: Amy O’Donnell on a Love for Trendspotting

Account director at leading creative integrated communications agency Ardmore, Amy talks making an impact and getting ahead of cultural trends to create authentic brand connections.

Person

I’m a trend spotter. I love observing the evolution of trends - keeping a watch on how culture influences trends, which in turn shifts what becomes popular in everything from fashion to music. Staying connected to these shifts is something that fuels my creative side as a person and as a professional in the world of advertising. Staying in tune, responding or even getting in front of trends helps make an impactful statement in a professional context.

Creativity is a concept that can apply to all areas of business. I apply my own creativity in the strategic direction I take with the brands I represent in my role as account director at Ardmore, one of the UK and Ireland’s leading creative integrated communications agencies. For example, knowing when an idea is so good that it might need to be put on hold until the timing is right for the brand takes an intuition that can only really come from experience and instinct. 

With creativity as a foundation, I make sure I get the most from the clients that I work with by constantly staying on top of trends and what people are interested in.


Product 

Creativity is about finding intuitive ways to solve challenges for brands. For advertisers creativity needs to win the battle for memory – it needs to deliver impact. Impact that 

lingers in the mind beyond seeing an idea for the first time, impact that challenges and changes how people may have previously seen things. This will always be a constant in our industry. Right now, the industry is in a state of recovery. The pandemic challenged and, in many ways, distracted creativity. 

To create relatability between brands and people, advertising often imitates real life. Many creatives reflected the Covid-19 pandemic within their advertising but in my view a lot of advertising over the last 20 months has been a bit too referential to a chapter we would all ideally like to get past. It is here where I believe the opportunity lies for brands - using creativity to help provide escapism through humour and imagination.


Process

Creativity in advertising needs to be fuelled by insight. Unique perspectives that help ideas to evolve and blossom in a space otherwise unoccupied by competition. Taking the time and effort to find these spaces is a great starting point. Whether it is a cultural trend, a product truth or even a powerful emotion that people are currently feeling to connect with, they all act as wonderful starting points to create a campaign.

This means looking outward. Searching for insights in the obvious and equally importantly the less obvious places. Tik Tok for example is a wonderful place to learn how people are adapting and responding to cultural trends. Spaces like these are ever evolving and hold so much value in keeping a close eye on so in turn, we keep brands current and on the pulse of what matters.

The most impactful and successful campaigns I have worked on have also been based around a great team. Positive, passionate and supportive people who bring out the best in me and the people around them. The industry has so many incredibly talented people who have maintained my drive to constantly get better and I’m proud to be among them.


Press

I have always been influenced and intrigued by culture, particularly the way in which things become popular and the drivers that determine what will be the next big thing – including the people behind the popularity. Today, it is so easy to stay connected to events, opinions, trends, and ideas through social media. Everyone is a broadcaster and at times it can feel like information overload. Recognising and identifying how these cultural patterns play out is what fuels my personal creativity. In our industry, if we tune out to these trends for even a week, we could be playing catch up for months!

Trendspotting is one of the core strengths in our industry. Agencies are a never-ending source of cultural input into the ideas they can deliver for brands. Clients that collaborate with their teams and agencies on this level will undoubtedly get the strongest creative output.

With this in mind, my advice for brands and agencies is to remove the constraints that a business relationship can often present. Work together on a common goal and use the power of cultural trends to help get you there.

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ardmore, Wed, 22 Dec 2021 08:46:26 GMT