This week we are catching up with Arron O’Hare, newly-appointed Creative Director of LEC London:
Advertising Health (AH): Hi Arron, First of all, congrats on the new job! Would you mind telling us a little about your background?
Thanks! It’s a role that I’m hugely excited about.
I fell into the job straight from school and almost by accident. I came across a classified ad in the local paper of all places. A healthcare advertising agency cunningly named ‘General Advertising’ were seeking a studio junior. I had no clue about the industry at that age, but I knew that studios were places where artists and musicians worked and that was enough for me. I interviewed and was lucky enough to be given the position.
General Advertising eventually splintered and evolved into the original LEC (Lane Earl & Cox) and I was invited to join their studio, supporting the creative teams on their hugely successful Losec ‘Everyday People’ campaign, amongst others. The creatives there had a massive influence on me and inspired me to make the leap from the studio into art direction.
I left LEC to join Money Syner as an art director, and then went on to PAN (now DJMPAN Unlimited) where I became Creative Director. We produced some great work that I remain hugely proud of.
I was most recently CD with Concentric Health Experience London, working closely with the New York agency on their global brand launches.
So, although LEC London is a now completely different agency to the one I first joined, it feels a bit like a homecoming of sorts.
AH: Can you give us a bit of an insight into LEC London?
LEC London are part of the OPEN Health group of agencies and it’s obvious that a genuinely collaborative attitude and approach has been actively encouraged between the agencies, one that goes beyond just an organizational chart in Powerpoint.
One of the things that has impressed me about the agency is how forward thinking they are in terms of their processes. Like every agency, they have set approaches to achieve success, but importantly they will flex and tailor them to meet the specific needs of each client and the challenges they and their brands face.
I think the main thing that attracted me to LEC London is the agency culture. The first time I stepped into the office, I noticed a friendly buzz and hum about the place. To say that there is a family vibe is too cheesy and overused, but there is a warm and welcoming, fun atmosphere that I am familiar and comfortable with. In my experience, this kind of openness always equates to great work.
AH: What are your aspirations for the agency?
Obviously I would like to see us continue to grow in a business sense, and from a personal point of view, I simply want to build on the solid foundations already laid and make LEC London a place where creatives feel they are able do their best work. Get this right and the rest will follow.
AH: What would you say is your creative philosophy?
I think that the most valuable skill a CD can have is to know when to step away and let the creative teams do what they do best.
Whether it’s idea generation, art direction or copywriting, if you are recruiting and coaching properly and have the right people in place, they will be able to do it far better than you anyway.
Of course, as CD, you have to have the experience and creative nous to be able to identify the magic and push it in the right direction, but importantly, you have to let the team take ownership of their ideas and only step in if required.
But above all else, never take yourself too seriously. There’s no need for that.
AH: What are your thoughts on healthcare creative awards? Which ones will you be entering this coming year?
There have been a lot of rumblings of late, particularly in the wake of Cannes Lions Health. I think that if agencies feel that they have become an uneven playing field, it’s simple: don’t enter them. There are plenty of other awards to be won that carry a lot of gravitas, so either look at the kind of work you are producing and entering into Cannes or concentrate elsewhere.
We are currently discussing our awards strategy for this year but I still think the IPA Best of Health awards are great for creatives to win and obviously the PM Society awards remain the most recognised in the eyes of clients. I also think that the Creative Floor awards are going from strength to strength and I love the fact that they are doing something different and fun with an altruistic element.
AH: Is there any recent work from your agency that you are proud of, and that you can tell us about?
I have joined at a really exciting time as the agency is rebranding and there’s a great house campaign being launched. It already works beautifully across lots of different media and has amazing potential to be pushed into some innovative experiential projects, so that is something to look out for.
As for client work LEC London have produced, I have seen a lovely unmet need campaign for our oncology brand that worked beautifully in a VR setting and really made the most of the format.
There’s also a new campaign in development for a treatment for painful allergic conjunctivitis in children. It’s obvious that the team are having a lot of fun working on this and I hope we get to bring the concepts to full production.
AH: In terms of other healthcare agencies out there, who do you think is making the most interesting work? And what is your favourite campaign at the moment?
I thought that the ‘Secret CEO’ film by Publicis LifeBrands for World Malaria Day was excellent. It was intriguing and had a clever twist at the end. It was so well written and produced that you genuinely grew to dislike the creepy, arrogant ‘CEO’.
AH: If you could read an interview on Advertising Health from anyone in healthcare advertising who would it be with? And what would you want to know?
I would love to hear from a hungry, young creative and ask if they feel that we as an industry really come across as being as interesting, brave, ‘edgy’ and exciting as old farts like me like to paint it.
It’s important to know so that we can get our own PR right in order to attract the right calibre of talent.
AH: Thanks Arron. All the best and chat soon!