The &Partnership creatives Arthur Harry and Ludo Thomas believe looking at a brief - and the idea that it can either make you laugh, cry or think - are the key emotions when creating campaigns
Enhancing the emotion of moving image is fundamental to what we do at CHEAT. Behind the scenes we’re invested in innovation to do just that. Years of technical research and development, colour science and film emulation, mean we are constantly finding new ways to deepen our impact on an emotive level in this medium. This is why we’re sponsoring LBB’s 'Emotion in Advertising' strand, exploring the theme through interviews with experts who share our passion.
In this interview, LBB’s Natasha Patel sits down with The &Partnership’s Arthur Harry and Ludo Thomas to hear about their work as a creative duo and why ‘the truth’ is important for advertisers.
LBB> You both met when studying at SCA, but was advertising something you were interested in growing up?
Arthur and Ludo> No, on the contrary it was something we always tried to avoid. From using Adblock, to racing to the YouTube SKIP button (which we still do…), we knew very little about the industry and what it means to be an ad creative. We were more drawn towards fiction, and actually started our careers in production companies.
LBB> How did you form your partnership and what have the past few years of working together taught you?
Arthur> It was a Thursday morning, in the cold winter of 2018, Ludo had short hair back then (what happened man?), mine was long (maybe too long?). He sounded very Welsh, I sounded very French, he loved rugby, I loved pétanque. What can I say... I guess opposites do attract. Well for starters, I definitely learned a lot more about rugby and Ludo a bit less about pétanque... But overall we’ve definitely learned to bounce off each other's different opinions, tastes and ideas to find a middle ground. That’s where the fun truly comes from.
LBB> In your opinions, how can advertising and emotion work well together to get a message across?
Arthur and Ludo> Advertising is full of lies. Don’t lie. As long as it comes from a truth, people will always be able to relate and ultimately believe what you’re saying.
LBB> In 2019 you worked on Argos’ Christmas campaign, The Book of Dreams, which was first inspired by the concept of nostalgia. Why was it so important to evoke emotions with this campaign?
Arthur and Ludo> That campaign originated from what we did as kids - and most other British kids in fact. As soon as the Argos catalogue dropped, we’d be bellies down on the living room carpet picking out all the things you’d want, but would never get. That nostalgia was the hook, that was the truth people could relate to and believe.
LBB> You mentioned that creating that campaign was more like a music video based around the song. How important is music in campaigns?
Arthur and Ludo> Music is everything, it reaches your soul - that’s deep… Of all the human emotions there are, music can stretch to any one of them really quickly. Actually TikTok is a really interesting example of this at the moment - a lot of it is driven by the music, little snippets of songs all working to drive different emotions… you’re just scrolling through going from full on snort laughing to heart strings in seconds, music has that crazy power.
LBB> You both enjoy working on campaigns with a 'human truth'. Tell us more about this thinking.
Arthur and Ludo> We touched on this above, but a simple human truth is the key. People want brands that reflect themselves, so they can see themselves in the story and connect with the truth we’re showing.
LBB> The campaigns you worked on for Big Yellow were print campaigns. From a creative perspective, which challenges arose from this when trying to evoke the right emotion in your audience?
Arthur and Ludo> Print is a hard one, it’s a lot more immediate. But that doesn't mean it shouldn’t evoke emotions, it just needs to work harder. We wanted something fun that takes you away from the hassle of moving out. And looking at furniture made of balloons seemed like a fun way to go at it. Then a lot of work went into crafting the aesthetic of those balloons, they needed to look modern, poppy and very, very light.
LBB> When creating campaigns, Arthur, you said you’re trying to form a connection with an audience where you can either laugh together, sit together or cry together. Tell us more about this.
Arthur> How do you measure a good idea? It’s very subjective. There isn’t one answer to a brief, there’s many different ways to go at it. The first thing Peter Souter taught us was that a good campaign should make you either “laugh, cry or think”. We always thought that was a good metric.
LBB> You talked about challenging brands to pivot their messaging, have there been any examples of this that have stood out to you?
Arthur and Ludo> A stand out positioning would definitely be for CC’s Australian crisp brand, with their slogan “The Crisps Your Mom Would Buy If She Was Your Dad”. Needless to say it’s unashamedly unhealthy…
LBB> What are your favourite examples of emotions in advertising?
Arthur and Ludo> Lacoste does great emotional work with ‘Life Is A Beautiful Sport’. Also we’re huge fans of irreverent work, like Doritos’ ‘Finger Cleaner’ (directed by Tom Noakes) and Klarna’s ‘Smooth Payment’ campaign (hats off to the sliding fish ad…).
LBB> Any parting thoughts?
Arthur and Ludo> Coldplay is overrated. So are focus groups.