A Love Letter

After four-years and a few months, today is my final day at DARE. An agency that has had its ups and downs, but has only provided me with opportunity after opportunity to work on great brands and make great things.

Before coming to DARE I co-founded a little agency in Soho called PENCIL with a great friend, Jenny Dyson. This little content agency made the feeling of making things a central driving force for me. Strange then after a good half-decade I decided to go to a digital agency where things lived in Clouds. Nevertheless, I wanted a new challenge in an industry completely new to me.

The first six-months at DARE were tough— how do you use MS Project, bloody JIRA, a fucking DNS whatnow? (I still don’t really know what this is btw). I paper pushed and bumbled my way around an agency of 140 people feeling like a stranger to myself. Then suddenly Barclays needed an agency to activate their sponsorship of the Premier League. Something felt right about this one.

Those are dart holes in my face yes.

1.3million Facebook fans, 100,000 #YouAreFootball mentions on Twitter and a Vialli interview in the BBC Gossip column later, I was hooked. Sport and more specifically football was the place for me. The “YAF” team helped me rediscover my confidence and do wonderful things together — thanks Owen (now of Mundial — subscribe here), Spinks, Oscar, Lee and Matt for helping me get my mojo back.

Huawei’s School of Pronunciation with Arsenal FC was next. Rarely do you get to sell in work like this. A gamble of a concept, but when you have creatives like Matt Callaby and Jake Attree by your side, good things happen (buy their book, IG, by the way). This team again plus Matt Bolton and Oscar Eavis helped win us the Football Manager campaign a year or so later. Projects like this taught me that the sporting world, unlike the fashion industry which I was exposed to a lot at PENCIL, was my calling.

Both industries are all about increasing customers/fans. Fashion achieves this through exclusivity and keeping things behind closed doors whereas sport is the opposite. Sport clubs and brands, who provide the best access and transparency, are inevitably the most successful and cut through the noise of their competitors. For marketing agencies, like DARE, that mentality provided us with an unbelievable opportunity to do what we do best — make new and exciting things.

Nike Football were looking for something new outside of the walls of R/GA and AKQA. DARE offered something more boutique and a little cowboy. A small team of clever people who were able to deliver ideas and actual work quickly. We started with Built for Brilliance (I have never worked for 22-hours straight), then Winner Stays in Amsterdam, Most Wanted in 5 countries and then Faster Than in Milan and Paris. The latter culminating in a private speed boat from Split to Hvar. It’s been a tough ride (*monkey face emoji*)…making things…creative things…that I love to make. DARE have gone multi-category now working on Running and Golf and we are now in the top three biggest accounts.

Mission accomplished.

The pinnacle of creativity and digital innovation for me at DARE with Nike on Faster Than — watch it here.

My cowboys Jamal, Matt, Oscar, Nick and Massi…and Fiori. Thanks for helping me step-up to the level I want to be. Together we pushed ourselves and scared ourselves into attempting things we had no idea how to do (or cost…sorry). You have taught me that having no plan doesn’t matter, stay the course, keep smiling and swearing. You get there in the end. Thank you sincerely.

And thank you to DARE for letting me make things.

Jamal Cassim — protecting what we built together helped us get where we are. Creativity is a means to an end (no more needs to be said).

Rebecca Owen — wow…you let me get away with murder and still kept things moving forward. Good Resource Managers have that dark art. You also have great boobs that I never saw.

Jack Payne — the guy that has more time for everyone than himself. Your hammer-foot isn’t bad either. You don’t play for BPR if you haven’t got something special.

Puppa — thanks for letting us strive for the best of the best.

Amy Chalkley — the only boss I ever could turn to.

Nick and Massi — you made me look good. Thank you. x

My new gig, Copa90, would never have looked at a guy like me four-years ago. DARE put me in the shop window. Here’s to the next chapter. I will always remember 3PF, DARE FC and trolling OLIVER or whoever sent an all-staffer with GIFs. I’ve laughed all the way and that’s how I want to be remembered here — having a great time with great work mates with an agency that makes things.

Have a nice,

George x

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