Creative Insights: Luke Simkins spent his youth under agency pool tables

By Ruby Derrick | 23 October 2023

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

Luke Simkins: group creative director at MBCS

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

I was very fortunate, my father worked in the industry. My dad had a very long and distinguished career as a creative. I spent many a school holiday drawing with my brother under agency pool tables (when they were still a fixture in creative departments), and I think I got hooked on the vibe of creative departments way back then. There was a very infectious energy in the creative department and the people just seemed so crazy and different to anything I had ever been a part of, it was exciting to my young mind. After that introduction I just knew it was what I was destined to do. I then just focused on doing everything I needed to do to get into advertising and the rest, as they say, “is history”.

What’s your secret sauce for commercial creativity?

I honestly don’t think there is a secret sauce, God I wish there was. My experience has been a combination of having a thick skin; working super hard; and being obsessive about learning is the only formula that has ever worked. The rest is just relationships and trying not to be a dick, neither one is easy.

What’s the biggest hurdle now for creatives?

I think time is the biggest hurdle. There is an expectation to turn out outstanding work, in the fastest possible time frame… and that’s unsustainable. I’ve always hated the phrase “pressure creates diamonds” because it’s not true. Working under time pressure is sometimes unavoidable, but on the other hand having time to think, create, reflect and refine produces the best work.

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

I haven’t hit my black t-shirt phase just yet, but I am told it’s a slimming colour so I’m not ruling it out. 

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

Of course not. I’ve freelanced at lots of agencies and haven’t notice a proliferation of black t-shirts, so I think it might be a bit of a myth. After attending the AWARD school graduation event I think the next crop of young guns are going to bring the entire spectrum back. I don’t think creativity has a dress code anymore.

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

Strangely, I am not allowed to talk about two of our latest. I can’t wait to though. Both clients were an absolute dream to work with, I love the brands and the work we’ve created is sensational. Watch this space.

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