Black sheep wanted

Leith Creative Director Phil Evans on our responsibility to inspire the next flock of original thinkers.

I’ve always loved BBH. I could’ve said admired there, but that doesn’t really express how I felt when I first saw Levi’s ‘Swimmer’. Or ‘Drugstore’.

Levi’s — “Swimmer”
Levi’s — “Drugstore”

It was like someone had sprinkled heroin on my cornflakes.

At the time, I didn’t know why I felt like that. It just seemed that these ads were somehow different to all the others. But I knew one thing. I was hooked. I wanted to make ads like that.

By the time the Black Sheep ad appeared, I’d figured it out. I liked advertising. But I loved ads that zagged.

When BBH adopted the black sheep as its brand marque, I had that feeling creatives get when we see some brilliant work we had bugger all to do with.

Bastards. Clever, clever bastards.

The black sheep was everything BBH stood for. And everything I loved about the business I was about to take my first tentative steps in. (Like a newborn lamb to the Creative Director’s slaughter, to torture the metaphor — albeit rather aptly.)

Now, if you’re thinking I’m about to embark on some rose tinted rant about how advertising’s lost its way and everything was better — and blacker — back in the day, you’re wrong. There’ll be no bleating here.

No, I’m thinking about the future.

More specifically, I’m thinking about how we make sure the next flock of original thinkers want to work in the business I’ve loved since that bloke swam through some swimming pools in his jeans.

The thing is, it’s up to us.

Or, rather, you.

Whoever you are, whatever you do — creative, strategist, brand manager, business owner — it’s in your hands now. It’s up to you to make a new generation feel the way I did when I first saw this.

Playstation 2 — “Mountain”

Or this.

Sony Bravia — “Balls”

Or this.


Or this.

Channel 4 — “We’re the Superhumans”

It’s our job to sprinkle heroin on their cornflakes. And we should never forget that.