Published date: 13 Sep 2018
As Purple celebrates the big 1-0, our Strategy Director, Andrew Woodger reflects on his personal Purple journey and the highlights of the last 10 years as a Purple person.
You’ve been at Purple since the very beginning. How did the idea of creating an agency come about?
Steve Shaw [our MD] and I had seen that the traditional creative agency model was already broken. We wanted to offer clients a more flexible creative service that could respond faster to a world that was speeding up. Our solution was to create a hybrid agency that would be agile enough to shape itself around differing client needs. So 10 years ago, we began The Purple Agency, choosing a deliberately disruptive name that reflected why we’re such a different proposition in the market.
Which office do you work in and what is your role?
Literally, all over the place – mainly Basingstoke and London in the UK (and when I want a few hours of peace, my other office, where our Data Team is based, in Chessington!) but I can also be found working/pitching in New York, Madrid and Washington.
Today I run the “thinking” side of Purple – data, media, planning, social and new business, plus I look after our PR, awards, contractual, legal and licensing matters. As Steve puts it, I “fill in the gaps”.
Before we launched Purple, I headed up what was then Adare Intellidata, the Adare International database management business based in Wimbledon.
What has been the highlight of your time here?
There have been many highs (and not too many lows!). A couple of memorable moments…
Winning the pitch to be lead agency to the British Paralympic Association in 2012 straight after the London Paralympics, with what I still regard as one of our best ever pitches. We took their brief and turned it into a video story of a young disabled athlete dreaming of competing at Rio in 2016 – a real tear-jerker!) – and bumping into Seb Coe on the way out.
Stealing an hour to share a beer with our Creative Director, James Mayfield, in Madison Square Garden on our way back to the airport having received amazing feedback from Honeywell on the brand pitch for Spectra.
Finally, winning our first agency award at the RARs felt like a real vindication of our new agency approach.
What makes Purple unique?
No doubt at all – it is the PEOPLE! Working with such an amazing bunch of fun, clever, characterful, committed people makes coming to work a joy! I see it like this: most of my friends are richer than me; but I’m the only one who loves what I do.
What is your favourite client or project that you’ve worked on over the past 10 years?
Beyond the projects I mentioned earlier, a couple of others deserve a mention – the Avios “Pick a card” DM campaign came from a simple insight that became a really strong creative piece and has been nominated for a number of awards this year. It’s especially gratifying that the work is being recognised for its craft and cleverness.
We’ve also delivered two really impactful internal communication campaigns for Galliford Try, around health and safety. Again, we used planning insights to inspire our creative, design and artworking teams and delivered two beautiful campaigns. We thought we’d cracked it with the first one, “Agit Prop”, but after five years (and winning a number of internal comms awards), the client came back to challenge us to deliver something new and even better, resulting in the “Malevolent Spirit” campaign.
It’s great to hear that after 10 years you’re still excited about life at Purple. If you were to sum up in a single sentence, how would you see Purple in 10 years’ time?
Wow, that’s a biggie! Given how fast we’ve grown, both in size and level of work, the sky is literally the limit. It sounds cheesy, but the last 10 years have probably been the best of my working life, but that may change after another 10 years!