Mill Thought | Wes: Now, next, future

For the latest in our ‘Now, Next, Future’ series, we asked Wes for his thoughts on how Covid-19 may impact our industry. Wes is Executive Creative Director in our London studio.
Thought May 19, 2020


How have advertisers, agencies, and production companies adapted for Covid-19 and what have been the positive changes you have observed during this time?

After the initial surge/panic/call it what you want when the world went into lockdown, things have now settled down. We have seen clients deliver a tone and a brand message that reflects the challenges taking place across the world and I think that is a positive thing. However, this has resulted in a creative glut as many of the ads produced in isolation look very similar and don’t really stand out. I guess it was a case of damned if you do follow the sentiment of the time or damned if you don’t. We are now seeing clients starting to feel braver with their ideas as they understand the mood is shifting, as countries slowly start to ease the lockdown restrictions. With live shoots still limited, many clients are continuing to look for alternative ways to produce advertising work that suits their brand (ie. full CGI or a design-lead approach)



As the industry emerges from Covid-19, what immediate changes do you expect to see?

At The Mill we are focused on what we do best – delivering impact through insightful creativity. Our talented artists are hugely adaptable and until the world is able to go back to the freedoms of full live-action shoots, they will continue to create magical worlds and truly believable CGI characters. In the same way the Mill elevated the standard of CGI creatures with SSE’s Maya, I am excited by the level of intricacy we can now deliver with animated human characters. I think this will be one of the things that gets more focus as we exit from C-19.



Looking way beyond Covid-19, what does the future of advertising look like and how might this have been influenced by what happened in 2020?

There has been a lot of talk of home working changing the workplace forever. I don’t fully buy into this. It certainly suits certain roles and some people’s situations, but the creative industry does rely on personal interaction. I think we may see more flexibility in how people work but having a communal space to interact, our ‘church’ if you like, is so important. As good as video calls have shown themselves to be, it’s no substitute for the real thing in my opinion.

Studio life is a central part of how we work. At the Mill we are fortunate to have an amazing space in which to work that encourages creativity and interaction. Ultimately, it’s about the community of people who work there. It’s about their desire and drive to create work that is the best it can possibly be. They are the ones who make the Mill what it is, and they thrive off of one another. There is no doubt that you get better when you surround yourself with great things and great people. I think it would be dangerous to undervalue that.

As for the future, I’ll defer to Sir John Hegarty: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it. And that’s done by making the present as interesting as possible”. What I predict now could change tomorrow. Will people continue to advertise? Yes. Will people be inspired by creative works? Yes. Do we have the people and the ideas to carry us forward? Yes, so let’s support our creative minds and support their ideas as we take our next steps into the unknown.


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