Recently appointed chief creative officer at 180 Amsterdam, Kika Douglas has over 15 years of global industry experience in advertising. Throughout her career, she’s been led by her instincts and has worked to make sure that fear doesn’t stand in the way of her creative output.
Beginning her career at JWT Spain, Kika has worked across the world. Following her time in Spain, she travelled to Portland for AKQA, New York for Johannes Leonardo and SID LEE and even California with David&Goliath. Moving to Amsterdam in 2018, she began at Dentsu Creative in the city as a creative director and then chief creative officer before moving over to 180 Amsterdam. With her global experience, she’s learnt about the power of empathy and the importance of a diverse team to strive for better. With this attitude, it’s no surprise that she’s received a whole host of awards from Cannes Lions to D&ADs and CLIOS.
As Kika begins her journey at 180 Amsterdam, she’s committed to supporting the female creative community and creating positive change, which she tells LBB’s Nisna Mahtani all about.
LBB> Congratulations on the new role! How did you react when you got the news and what was the first thing you were keen to bring to the job?
Kika> I was beyond thrilled, of course! To be able to join such a talented group of people and influence the creative footprint of an iconic shop like 180 is a unique creative opportunity.
LBB> If we take it back to the start, was there a particular moment when you realised or decided that you wanted to forge a career in the creative industries?
Kika> I think that was at a very young age. I used to write theatre plays for my cousins and I to perform during summer holidays when I was probably around 10 years old.
LBB> What was the process which led to your start in advertising at JWT in Spain?
Kika> I studied psychology because I am passionate about understanding human behaviour. After college, I did a master’s degree in communication and landed an internship at JWT.
LBB> Can you share the most valuable lesson you learnt during your initial days working in agencies?
Kika> Yes, absolutely. I’ve learned to trust my gut instincts and not let fear get in the way of creativity.
LBB> Your career has taken you all over the world. What has the international experience taught you about storytelling and connecting with an audience?
Kika> Empathy is any creative’s superpower. But also, just because we have empathy doesn’t mean we understand every culture, so having a diverse cast of creatives for every project is essential.
LBB> Now based in Amsterdam, what is the creative scene like there and what are some of the nuances of the market which you’re keen to explore?
Kika> I think the way international and local companies co-exist is very unique to the Amsterdam scene. It offers a constant flow of cross-cultural learning which I love!
LBB> You’ve described yourself as always hungry to learn more. Where do you find your inspiration and how do you proactively search for new ways to develop?
Kika> I try to find my inspiration outside of screens. I love books, lately I’m really into magazines and I love anything street culture and subculture-related. Most weekends you can spot me with my kids at a BMX park or at a bookstore.
LBB> What is your biggest creative inspiration at the moment?
Kika> ‘Deep work’. There’s a book by Cal Newport on the subject. I can't recommend it enough.
LBB> During the creative process, what’s the one thing you always keep in mind to achieve transformative work?
Kika> I really believe in building cross-functional teams to deliver ideas that set the standards of modern creativity today. Ideas that shape and create ‘the world as it could be’.
LBB> Can you share a few recent campaigns which you’ve worked on and tell us a little bit about the process?
Kika> I think the Adobe x Bowie work is a good example of how ideas can take any shape today. This project was ‘design-culture meets music-culture meets innovation’ and the team that worked on it was a group of people specialised in so many different areas and skills that the process was a mega masterclass for everyone involved. I love these complex projects that have so many layers, where the product is still the hero but in a very engaging and unexpected way.
LBB> Of course, it’s important to have downtime to dedicate to your hobbies and interests. What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t at the office?
Kika> Anything that involves my two boys! I love to paint graffiti with my eldest, skate, BMX, cook, do yoga and be in nature.
LBB> What’s one piece of advice you would give to a creative who’s just starting out?
Kika> Be yourself and do what feels right to you. Everything else will follow.