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The Work That Made Me: Noel Hamilton



neverland's executive creative director on '90's nostalgia, learning from experiences and comfort from music

The Work That Made Me: Noel Hamilton

Named as ‘one of the most creative people in advertising’ in New York before moving to London and becoming lead creative on Dove and Unilever’s global campaigns, Noel now leads neverland’s creative department. Her creative leadership has helped fast-track neverland from being a three person start-up in 2019, to becoming one of London’s most talked about, and rapidly growing, agencies.

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

Noel> 1998 gave the U.S. the Tabasco Mosquito ad. To this day I’ve never seen an ad that is so simple and yet tells a complete story. No words, no music, no voiceover. This is when I realised that ads could be smart, and not just soulless, repetitive messaging of something I don’t need to buy.  

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

Noel> I guess 1998 was the year that hooked me. The Bud Light ‘Real Men of Genius’ campaign launched then, and it was the first time in my life when I looked forward to the next iteration of an ad campaign, the way you might look forward to the next episode of a TV show. It also introduced me to good copywriting. I wanted to write ads that made people laugh. 

The creative work (film/album/game/ad/album/book/poem etc) that I keep revisiting…

Noel> I’m not sure if it was a pandemic coping mechanism, but I let the ‘90s nostalgia wash over me and I still can’t let it go. The music and the films of that decade give me great comfort, and it’s interesting to see gen z getting inspiration from it as well. 

My first professional project…

Noel> I’ve seen very cool answers to this question and I don’t have one. My first assignment in advertising was to name ice cream flavours for Carvel. The only one I remember is ‘Mint to Be.’ 

The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

Noel> Most of the ads I see on TV make me cringe. I strive to make ads that I wouldn’t mind watching.

The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that still makes me jealous…

Noel> While most of the ads on TV make me cringe, there is also so much work to be jealous of — it’s just usually not the stuff normal consumers see. However, the Super Bowl is an opportunity for the two worlds to meet. ‘It's a Tide Ad’ made me roar with jealousy in 2018. If both mainstream consumers and advertising creatives love it, that’s when I get jealous.  

The creative project that changed my career…

Noel> I was riding my bike into work in Manhattan when I got a phone call from my CCO, so I pulled over because I thought I must be getting fired (always thinking the worst is my defence mechanism). Standing on the Bowery, trying not to sound out of breath, I heard him tell me we won a Grand Prix for the Oreo Daily Twist. I can pinpoint my career’s upward trajectory to that exact moment. 

The work that I’m proudest of…

Noel> Watching an agency grow before my very eyes has been way more rewarding than one single successful campaign. In a little more than two years we’ve grown from eight to 45 people, produced the kind of work that I’ve always wanted to make, and won Campaign’s Startup Agency of the Year. I’m damn proud of that. 

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Noel> I have to give the common answer here and say that I’ve worked hard on every project, and even if it didn’t turn out the way I envisioned, I at least know why it turned out that way and can learn from the experience. 

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

Noel> In the last few years I’ve taken inspiration from a time when advertising was a little less complicated. Sometimes, a well-written, well-performed 30-second ad that makes people smile is enough to make me excited about the work we’re doing. We did it with what3words, and more recently with giffgaff, where we imagined what could be trending in December 2023. It was fun to make, and it’s fun to watch.

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neverland creative, Tue, 14 Feb 2023 13:45:00 GMT