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Dream Teams: The Funny Side of Things with Nicola Wood and Andy Forrest

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The creative directors at Ogilvy UK share their alternative career paths in case of World War 3, two decades of being best friends, and thinking in complete harmony

Dream Teams: The Funny Side of Things with Nicola Wood and Andy Forrest

"Andy and I met on September 10th 2001. It was a fairly insignificant grey day in Watford at the very start of our foray into advertising. The keener eyed of you will have spotted that the following day was somewhat more significant, and the world came to a dramatic stop as terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers. The newly acquainted Class of '01 soon abandoned the dog food brief to move to our local boozer, The Horns, all sat glued to the TV.  This was where Andy and I shared our first of many pints and contemplated what our careers paths might be now that World War III had kicked off. I was going to be a nurse.  Andy was going to go back to the Greggs factory in Newcastle making sausage rolls for the war effort and hopefully avoid conscription. 
 
Fast forward to today. Thankfully World War III didn't transpire, and we've enjoyed a successful and long career together. Nearly two decades of working alongside my best friend.  I literally love the guy.  When he goes on holiday, I feel like my right arm has been severed. I remember getting a text from him when I was on maternity leave with my son saying, 'Don't forget you have three men in your life'. Some people say creative partnerships are like a marriage, and in part that is true, we've even lived together (a very debauched year in our youth. Say no more). And yet Andy is the only person in the world I don't argue with. We never argue. In nearly two decades not one row! And I have a gob on me so it's unbelievable but true. But we trust each other, pick each other up and there's not a single day we don't laugh. Sometimes so much that we are crying with laughter but if we tried to tell anyone what we were laughing at they wouldn't get it. You have to be able to have fun together. And see the funny side of things. Like when we were shooting in South Africa and both got food poisoning, it was 45-degree heat in an exposed field with only a tree for a toilet.
 
I also think it's our differences that have always complimented our relationship and our work. We're two opposites. He's a boy. I'm a girl. He's from up North, I'm from down South.  He's gay, I'm straight. But we just seem to work in harmony. And think in harmony. And finish each other’s..."
 
"...sentences. We’ve learnt a lot from each other – at work and at home. When Nic and I lived together I learned how to put the toilet seat down and Nic learned how to tidy up (she is so messy). 
 
At work we’ve learned that having someone who has your back is really important. Especially as a creative, when your work is torn to pieces on a daily basis. We’ve learnt not to make each other laugh just before an important meeting because once we start, we can’t stop. I’ve learnt that sometimes to get great work out, you have to be impatient. Nicola’s learnt that sometimes you have to be patient. We’ve learnt that if you start every line in a brainstorm with “this is shit, but…” it makes it so much easier to blurt out any random nonsense, because that’s usually where the good ideas lie. We’ve learnt how to come up with ideas together very quickly. We’ve learnt how to write together very quickly. We’ve learnt that we are each other’s best editors, firing work back and forth for amends until something feels word-perfect or picture-perfect. We’ve learned that when you spend more time with each other than with your spouses, you have to get on with each other as well as you get on with your spouses. 
 
So, for anyone out there navigating their own working relationships, I’d say trust your gut. This is going to be one of the most important and intense relationships of your life, so you need to be with the right person. You’ll know when it’s right, because you’ll feel comfortable sharing your every thought. If you don’t, you might have let your next great idea slip by.  If you can’t do this, you probably shouldn’t be together. Be there for each other. This industry is very good fun, but it’s also very hard work. Keep each other in check. Don’t let your lives get too out of balance, and don’t let each other’s egos run rampant.
 
Right, better forward this to Nic to edit. Then she’ll send it back with amendments. Then I’ll send it back with some more, until finally one of us will put our teacher’s red pen away. ”

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Ogilvy UK, Mon, 03 Oct 2022 15:21:47 GMT