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Interview with Suzanne Pope, creative director in Portfolio Night 8-Toronto

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Jun
18,
2010
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Suzanne Pope is Creative Director at John st. She has experiencie in consumer, business to business and pharmaceutical advertising. Her work has been recognized internationally by The One Show (Silver Pencil), Communication Arts, the London International Advertising Awards, the New York Festivals, Lurzer’s Archive, the Obies and Clios. Canadian recognition includes awards from the Advertising & Design Club of Canada, Applied Arts magazine, the Extra Awards, the Marketing Awards, the Billis, the Bessies and the Cassies.

She has been a guest contributor to Ihaveanidea and she is also a member of ‘Been There’, a panel of female advertising professionals dedicated to the advancement of younger women in advertising.

Clients past and present include IBM, Jaguar, Unilever (Pond’s, Dove and Becel), Hewlett-Packard, Timex, American Express, KFC, Mattel, Midas, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, The Bay, Zellers, Molson, Telus Mobility and Novo Nordisk.

What do you think of the Portfolio Night experience? Have you learnt anything from it?

The Portfolio Night experience is wonderfully energizing. It gives us the opportunity to make a positive difference to someone else’s life, and that is what gives our own lives meaning and significance. On a practical level, it has been very useful because it has allowed me to identify the brightest talents entering our industry. At Portfolio Night, I have learned (yet again) just how tough our business is, and how perseverance is ultimately worth more than talent.

Who was your first tutor in advertising?

My first boss was Jerry Goodis, who was a legend in Canadian advertising. He worshiped Bill Bernbach, and the core principles of DDB still govern how I think about advertising.

How many women are there in your creative department?

There are about 25 people doing creative at john st., and I’d say half of them are women.

What is the campaign that surprised you most as far as communication to women goes?

It’s not a campaign, but I adore the Old Spice commercial “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” for the funny, loving, sexy and respectful way it talks to women about a product designed for men. The spot was created by two guys, but they clearly have a lot of insight into how women think.

According to your own experience in Portfolio Night, what is the level of the young creative women?

In my view, young creative women are at about the same level as young creative men. Only a handful have the talent and personality to succeed at the best shops. But fortunately, there are still lots of places where juniors can learn and grow and succeed.

An advice for the young creative women.

Be a good sport about criticism, because you’ll be hearing it almost daily for as long as you work in this business.

Name the best current creative woman in your opinion.

Christina Yu of Red Urban in Toronto. She’s moved from traditional advertising to digital, and she’ll be breaking new ground there, too.

What is the best campaign that you have worked on as creative director?

I’m really proud of a pro bono campaign I’m working on right now for the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life. It’s all about the obstacles facing people who live with HIV/AIDS.

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