Creative Insights: Gabrielle Sandel at DDB Group Melbourne

By Ruby Derrick | 26 September 2023

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

Gabrielle Sandel: creative at DDB Group Melbourne

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

It was very deliberate! Li'l Gab watched an episode of Gruen Transfer back in high school and saw the industry as something which could combine writing, digital, and film production with greater job security than typical creative industries.

What’s your secret sauce for commercial creativity?

Remaining interested and engaged in the world outside of ads. It’s easy to exist in a bubble within our industry, but the importance of creativity across almost every industry sector means we don’t have exclusive rights to commercial creativity anymore.

What’s the biggest hurdle now for creatives?

Risk-averse marketing departments.

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

Having started in account management, the advertising industry uniforms are an interesting concept to me. I’ve still got a wardrobe of blazer combos that personified the ‘dress for the job you want’ mentality, but when it comes to the black t-shirt uniform it feels too close to the Silicon Valley tech bros for me.

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

Absolutely not. The strongest agency is one that leverages the skillsets of every department—partnering the nuances of client knowledge with the insights of a boundary-pushing strategy department, then bringing that work to life with efficient and engaged production and studio teams. The best concept in the world remains a concept until there’s a team around it willing and able to bring it to life.

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

Last year, DDB worked on a campaign for Dabble that involved animatronics, a delightfully kitsch set, and a product that was outside of my realm of expertise. I learnt a stack from the production process alone, but also a lot about a demographic that I’m less than familiar with, which was hugely beneficial.

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