Creative Insights: Amplify's Michelle Melky on developing creative before it becomes irrelevant

By Ruby Derrick | 1 February 2024

Creative Insights is an AdNews series investigating and uncovering the secrets of the creative side of advertising.

Michelle Melky: creative director at Amplify

How did you fall into the industry? Was it deliberate or a misstep?

It wasn't the step I thought I'd take, but that doesn't make it a misstep in my mind. I studied screenwriting then started my career as a producer, but I was always more interested in all the steps leading up to a production rather than being on set. Honestly, my job feels like a lot more than just being a creative, even though my job title is creative director.

What’s your secret sauce for commercial creativity?

A horrendous amount of screen time. I primarily produce content for TikTok, and it's the sort of platform where you have to put in the time and effort to understand what works, and what definitely doesn’t, to create engaging content for our clients. Aside from this, my actual secret sauce is definitely my team. Our most innovative ideas tend to happen when we're sitting around being silly and not consciously trying to be creative. It’s those types of moments that bring out the best in all of us.

What’s the biggest hurdle now for creatives?

In my work, it's speed. TikTok burns through ideas, so we have such a short amount of time to develop creative before it becomes irrelevant. It can be a fun challenge, but most of the time it's more of a hair-ripping-out challenge.

Do you wear the black t-shirt uniform or are you a nonconformist?

I am definitely not a black t-shirt girlie. Honestly, I'm not that familiar with this term. I came up in the Melbourne web series scene - a vibrant, colourful filmmaking community where not a black t-shirt could be found. I didn't even know I wasn't conforming! My appearance, which is often decorated with bows, blush and buttons, is a way of expressing my creativity. However to prove I have historically worn a black t-shirt, I've provided a photo of me in one. J-Hutch Forever.

Can commercial creativity only take place in a room full of people in black T-shirts?

Absolutely not. Creativity of any kind can take place anywhere, no matter what you wear, where you've come from or where you're going next. The best idea will always win no matter who's mouth it comes from.

What was the latest campaign that you worked on that you really enjoyed?

Amplify was fortunate enough to partner with Warner Bros to support the global press tour of the Barbie movie last year, creating its assets for TikTok. It's an easy day at work when your job is to turn Margot Robbie into a meme. We all knew at the time it was going to be a historic release, and I could feel the excitement flowing through the team. Everyone's enthusiasm to show up is what made it so fun and it was a pinch me moment knowing we had contributed to one of the world’s biggest movie promotions.

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