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The Work That Made Me: Harry Boothman

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The Monkeys senior creative on how Flat Eric proved advertising could be cool, how The Simpsons became his after-school tuition and his first project for McCain

The Work That Made Me: Harry Boothman

Harry Boothman is a creative copywriter from London, currently living in Australia after miraculously sneaking into the country less than a week before full lockdown hit.

In his previous life, he kick-started the London Pride march with a 90ft film on Piccadilly Circus, hung out with the fabulous Three Bears, locked someone in a room way before this whole lockdown thing existed and tried to help Grimsby get back on its feet.

In his spare time, he likes pretending to look like a surfer, conditioning his hair and geeking out over geographical features.


The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

Levi’s - Flat Eric. 

I remember this advert coming on TV one day and blowing my tiny little mind. 

Was it an ad? Was it an avant-garde music video? What did a fluffy yellow puppet have to do with Levi’s? Why was it so bloody cool? I still don’t know the answer to most of these questions, but Flat Eric totally changed the way I looked at advertising. It wasn’t just jingles and clever slogans. Advertising could suddenly be something else. Advertising could be cool.


The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

Nike - The Mission. 

As a soccer mad 11-year-old with a love of kung-fu, I never stood a chance. 

It felt like someone had taken one of my dreams, given it a million-dollar budget and transformed it into an advert. My adidas football boots didn’t last long. Neither did my career as an orthodontist.

The creative work (film/album/game/ad/album/book/poem etc) that I keep revisiting…

I’d love to say something really highbrow, but it has to be The Simpsons. Most of what I know can be directly linked back to The Simpsons. It was like the after-school tuition I never had. The jokes are so clever and insightful, they work on so many levels, for people of all ages. I still find myself referencing funny scenarios all the time.


My first professional project…

It was a series of sponsorship idents for McCain potato chips. It was a pretty harmless idea about a ragtag bunch of scarecrows stood in a British potato field. It was only when we had to fly half the agency out to South Africa, rebuild an entire British potato field in 40 degrees heat and protect the potatoes from wild animals…. that I wished I’d tried a little bit harder to come up with an idea worth all the effort. I think that a lot.

 

The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

Obviously Pepsi, but I’m sure everyone says that. I don’t know what Robert De Niro was doing in a Kia advert…oh right…the car was called a Niro…I get it. However, a particular Santander Banking advert from the UK stands out to me. Golfer Rory McIlroy giving the worst acting performance since Nicolas Cage in pretty much everything. To be fair, what does a golfer know about everyday bank accounts?


The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that still makes me jealous…

I’m still very jealous of the McWhopper work from a few years back. Even when McDonald’s wouldn’t get involved, Burger King backed the idea to the hilt, executing it in every conceivable way, until it just grew and grew. If only more clients were willing to go all in and take a risk.


The creative project that changed my career…

The Pride in London campaign didn’t just change my career, it changed me as a person. Learning about the widespread and senseless discrimination still faced by the LGBTQ+ community today was a real eye opener. Being given the responsibility to create a campaign capable of galvanising a community into positive action was terrifying, but also a great honour. I was very fortunate to work with a number of hugely talented people who helped to craft the idea. Seeing the outpouring of positive responses, and what it meant to people, was rewarding on a level I have not experienced before.


The work that I’m proudest of…

The latest Lamb project is something I’m especially proud of. Working on such a famous Aussie campaign less than a year into my life down under (under lockdown) was such a crazy experience. Trying to wrap my head around the state vs. state rivalries, which premier said what and how you even spell Annastacia Palaszuc... I give up. It was probably the best crash course in understanding this country a clueless Brit could hope for. I was very lucky to have so many brilliantly talented Monkeys and such a supportive client to help guide me through. The outcome is a result of all that hard work.


I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

There are too many to choose from. Hula Hoops, ‘Fingers for legs’….let’s just leave it at that.

(Link permanently deleted)


The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

There’s a few new interesting projects in the pipeline. From a new meat campaign, to selling mobile plans and a crazy Japanese drinks brand. It doesn’t take much to get me excited.

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The Monkeys, Mon, 15 Mar 2021 10:50:33 GMT