Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley: ‘Good really is the enemy of great’
Posted on November 01, 2019 | By Nils Adriaans & Gijs de Swarte

Meet The World’s Most Awarded Creative Directors in this series called the 6,5 interview.These two advertising celebs are Creative Partners at AMV BBDO in London. Together, they have won multiple Grand Prix’s and just about every other award. They also have their work in the permanent collections of both the London Design Museum and The British Museum. 

 

1) What was your biggest fear when you just started?
 
Nadja Lossgott: ‘Our biggest fear when we started was a blank page. Our biggest fear is still a blank page. But we have learnt through experience and doing many, many briefs that inspiration can and will strike if you just spend long enough trying to find it.’
 
2) Please describe your key-career break moment…

 
Nicholas: ‘Guinness Sapeurs' has been important to us. It gave us confidence that we could make it in the UK advertising industry. And it probably gave others confidence in us too. On top of that it was such a complicated and difficult shoot that we also learnt so much.’

Nadja: ‘Especially that you can’t make great work without a clever team of people surrounding you. And you certainly can’t make great work without great clients.’
 
3) What was the lesson learned from your most loved mistake?
 
Nicholas: ‘One we learned early is there are no footnotes attached to work explaining why it’s not as good as it could be. It’s just the work and your names that go out there. And everybody forgets the decisions and compromises made along the way.’

Nadja: ‘You can’t be an arse about it, but you have to fight for the work. Good really is the enemy of great. As Fernando Machado the Burger King CMO says, ‘The biggest risk is not taking any risk at all.’’
 
4) Where do you get your inspiration?
 
Nadja: ‘We like to get as much of our inspiration from outside of advertising.

Nicholas: ‘But there is a big but. We also like to be ad nerds and immerse ourselves in the best work from around the world. We used to gather round in the agency boardroom and watch the “Shots” reel. You saw great ads from all around the world. Playstation Double Life, Levis Odyssey, Bud Light Real Men of Genius, Gatorade Replay. We tried to absorb them all. And we still do. We get invited to judge international award shows sometimes and it’s brilliant because you get an incredible influx of work into your brain, in a concentrated amount of time. And you learn by osmosis. You can see when work is unbridled and goes all the way, that it soars above other campaigns. It shows you what it takes and what your and your client’s competition is. You have to know what great looks like if you ever hope to reach it.’

Nadja: ‘And then we like talking to our wider teams in the agency, account teams, planners, other creatives -  it’s amazing how a little fact, a turn of phrase can help unlock something when we feel stuck.’

5) If you want to get ahead in advertising these days, please, please do not ever…
 
Nicholas: ‘Give up. Resilience and passion always win in the end.’
 
Nadja: ‘Without sounding like a Monty Python skit, our early days were hard. I remember having to be “sick” on the day before pay-day a few times because there was no money for petrol or transport. And even now when we are working super late, we’ll look up and see that there are other people working late. And it’s usually the same people. And they’re the ones who make the best work and ferret out the best way of executing their ideas.’
 
6) If I was a millennial and wanted to start in advertising now, I would…
 
Nadja: ‘Mostly stay the way you are. The old views of the world are crumbling. Assumptions that women should have the sole burden of child rearing. Ideas that companies should only exist for profit. How long the working week should be? These are not inevitable things. We love the diverse, non-binary, socially conscious, environmentally aware world that is replacing it. Millennials can and do make advertising a brilliant industry. And therefore hopefully with their output, make the world around them a better place.’

6.5) Also, I'd like to state that…

Nadja and Nicholas ’takes as much energy defending mediocre work as it does making great work.’