|In Creative Minds, we ask APAC creatives a long list of questions, from serious to silly, and ask them to pick 11 to answer. (Why 11? Just because.) Want to be featured?|
Name: Bill Davies
Origin: Shropshire, U.K.
Places lived/worked: Manchester (U.K.), Singapore
- Head of content and copy, Distillery APAC, 2022-present
- Associate creative director, Merkle Singapore (formerly Gyro), 2019-2022
- Intern to senior copywriter, Manchester, 2013-2019
1. How did you end up being a creative?
I’d love to tell some inspiring story of how I’d always been an artistic or poetic child, but it’s much simpler. As an 18-year-old, out of college and clueless about what to do, I was drayman, essentially a cool name for a van driver, delivering beer for the UK’s oldest licensed brewery. The brewery's owner had settled down in the countryside, having worked in ‘the city’. He told me his friend who used to work for something called Saatchi & Saatchi in London had said advertising was a ‘right laugh’, that he’d had the best time ever, drove around in a flashy Porsche and seemed to be in the pub all the time.
Now, a lot of this is connected with me. So off, I went to university to follow that very vision.
By the time I’d got all that out of the way and I turned up at agencies with my portfolio, I realised the game had changed a fair bit from those days. But I’m glad to report I’m still having a ‘right laugh’ and have admittedly spent quite a bit in the pub. No sign of the flashy Porsche though.
2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?
This is cheating, I guess, because it’s not one piece of work. But a standout project for me would be the rebranding and subsequent campaigns and relationship with Singapore-born technology consultancy NCS.
In the true B2B style, this huge company touches millions of lives in many ways, but most people on the street will have likely never heard of it. They do some truly amazing things with technology and have played a big role in developing tech in Singapore, but this story wasn’t coming across. So we worked with them to translate these 40 years of heritage and innovation into a compelling new brand strategy and vision for the future.
Beyond the visual identity and new brand positioning, we helped them with the launch new sub-brands and divisions, recruitment campaigns, event activation and embedding the new purpose within their company culture. It was a great experience to be part of the transformation of a business on this scale in Singapore and seeing the way NCS’s people have got behind the new brand is really exciting too.
3. What's the one piece of work you most wish you'd done?
I think as a writer by trade, it’s when people have managed to create timeless lines that can run and run and set off other creatives with almost a brief in themselves.
“Good things comes to those who wait” for Guinness is surely right up there. So with that, they’ve been able to do so much and it’s such a lovely bit of psychology around the product and the simple truth that sets it apart from the other options in a bar. And if I had to pick a piece of work that uses it, Guinness Snails. I mean, how cool is that?!
4. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
I once travelled to France to avoid the end of the world. On the eve of the predicted Mayan apocalypse of 2012, I was drinking with a close friend when we learned the ‘fact’ that a town called Bugarach was apparently going to survive unscathed—something to do with aliens coming down to rescue everyone.
So a few beers later, we booked a Channel tunnel crossing the following day to take our chances at dodging the end of it all. We packed the car early the next day and drove 300 miles to Folkestone to catch the Channel tunnel to France. Small problem… we didn’t really check where in France Bugurach was, and only realised when we got to the other side it was another 8 hours in the car. So, we dodged the total annihilation of life as we know it in Dunkirk instead. And if I’m honest… I wouldn’t hurry back.
5. Who do you most admire?
People who get stuff done without getting distracted.
6. Do you work best under pressure, or when things are calm?
I think most creatives need a bit of a pressure, and I’m no different. I definitely need a deadline. And maybe this reveals something about my character, but calm sounds kind of boring when it comes to making stuff. I feels like the process needs a little bit of chaos.
7. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
I once spent a short time in a factory, feeding pieces of wood into a machine wrapped in vinyl to create caravan furniture. It was one of the noisiest places on Earth, so to pass the time, I’d try and guess what song was playing on the tiny radio in there, only to never really get confirmation of the answer. And let me tell you, the worst day in advertising is streets ahead of the best day there.
8. What would you do on your perfect day?
Walk the dogs.
Get out on the bike for a few hours.
Go for a beer with one or two close friends, nothing too big and hectic.
Cook up something good in the kitchen with some good music playing.
Pop a decent film on and sprawl out.
9. What app could you absolutely not live without? What app do you wish you could delete?
Twitter is both. I used to be quite active and into it. Now I mostly doom-scroll. It’s so often a car crash I simply can’t look away from. A lot of people seem surprised these days that I still engage with it, I think many people have moved on. I’ve also got a dangerous relationship with Tik Tok, I’m sort of in recovery now, but that was getting some serious attention for a while. The level of creativity on there and the stuff people were pumping out was too good to ignore.
10. Do you have a catchphrase?
I’ve got a few expressions I regularly use that probably aren’t fit for print (do we still say that?). But I’ve also had the realisation recently that I’ve picked up a catchphrase of sorts from my dad. When asked, for example, if I want a slice of cake or another beer, and shamefully even in a work context, if asked to do something, I’ll reply, ‘oooh go on then’ in an over-the-top way. It was only when my girlfriend met my dad for the first time and he did it that the truth hit home, I’m becoming him. I guess it’s where we’re all headed, to become more like our parents, that is, not specifically my dad. That would be bizarre.
11. Early riser or night owl?
Until now, I’ve always seen myself as a bit of both. Admittedly, that’s got slightly tougher over the years. But maybe I’ll always try and alternate. Early mornings are great for focusing and setting yourself up for a great day, but late nights have this special feeling and vibe that I’ve always found comforting and interesting.