Meet Clare Colbourne – Creative Strategy Director at OMD UK

Clare Colbourne recently sat down with us to discuss the role of OMD Create, our creative solutions team, as well as her proudest achievement to date and what it takes to make it in the media industry.

As a relatively new OMDer, what strikes you most about the agency?

I joined OMD UK in 2014, the week of the Christmas party and that night cemented in my mind what the agency is all about. Everyone I met was so incredibly proud of their work at OMD UK.

OMD UK has an amazing client list and the case studies of brilliant work to prove it. The structure and planning process here means that more people collaborate together from across the agency to create great work. Everyone makes a valuable contribution, everyone is trying to do their best work and so standards are incredibly high.

This sense of pride is balanced with a great sense of humour. Yes, OMD UK is an agency with some of the biggest clients and award-winning work, but it’s also the agency that throws a spectacular Christmas party complete with a drag show, a ridiculously competitive dance floor, a champagne reception and a vodka luge.

How has the formation of OMD Create affected the work the agency does?

OMD Create is a truly unique set up unlike anywhere else I’ve worked. I joined two weeks after it launched so I can’t vouch for the change in our work but there are two fundamental differences for me.

1. OMD Create isn’t an optional extra. It’s embedded into our planning process.

OMD Create breaks down silos between teams, making us a one-stop shop for creative beyond spot media. But the most fundamental change has been in the expectations of our clients.

As it’s part of the process, creativity is expected from every single OMD UK response; not just the big ones. It’s expected that our recommendations are integrated, that they consider owned and earned channels and are the most creative solution possible to our clients’ challenges.

2. OMD Create has broken down walls with media owners.

OMD Create and the Open House events, where we invited some of the UK’s biggest media owners into Minerva House to take them through our new vision, strategy and structure, have transformed the way we work with media owners, resulting in genuine partnerships. We get access to their top talent and tech and work together to craft the right responses to our clients’ briefs.

We brief early and accurately and they respond with some of the best media owner presentations I’ve seen.

As OMD Create evolves, I look forward to stealing more of those elusive Cannes Lions.

How do you work with the various teams at OMD UK?

The Creative team work across all clients in OMD UK providing there is creative potential. We pick up the brief once the strategy has been agreed. We have to move quickly to come up with big ideas and make sure they are stretched to their full potential. This can be incredibly high pressure but great fun. We get to work with so many people from around the agency; with strategy and planning at the start of an idea and then with the rest of OMD Create and XMP once an idea comes to fruition.

No day, week or brief is ever the same and we are never in our comfort zone.

Is there a campaign you are most proud of?

I’m only proud of an idea if it actually sells stuff, but there is a part of my job I’m most proud of… OK OMD.

Each week we work with different teams to help stretch ideas and come up with creative ways of solving clients’ problems. We have half an hour per brief and I love the challenge and the clarity of thinking you get with a fast, diverse crack team. We work on such a great variety of clients, from Babybel to Google, and I love getting to know each one. It’s one of the highlights of my week even if sometimes we ‘ve not quite recovered from the “Media Thursday” the night before.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the media industry?

Don’t be fooled by the acronyms, “strategery” and made up words.

At its core, media is simple. Media is about understanding people, what makes them tick and selling stuff.

If you are genuinely passionate about people, then go for it.


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