Creative Insights: We Are Social's Ben Clare on stumbling into the chaos he'd always envisioned

By Ruby Derrick | 23 November 2023

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

Ben Clare: executive creative director at We Are Social

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

Growing up, I genuinely loved the idea of advertising – getting paid to unleash my imagination? Sign me up. But my parents were a little more practical. They nudged me toward a Commerce degree, thinking it was the sensible path. Without much enthusiasm, I enrolled in a few. But, in a spectacular twist of fate (or maybe just a lack of computer skills at the time), I entered my preferences back to front and accidentally enrolled in advertising at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst. Three years later I beat out 200 other applicants for a job as a junior copywriter at a direct marketing agency and stumbled into the creative chaos I'd always envisioned.

What’s your secret sauce for commercial creativity?

How you frame the problem often holds more weight than how you picture the solution. When you get beyond surface-level issues, and creatively reinterpret the brief in a way that’s empowering to you, it can pave the way for insights that stop and make you think, “Wow. I never thought of it that way.”

What’s the biggest hurdle now for creatives?

Avoiding distractions. By that I mean, resisting the allure of the latest platforms, trends, or technologies and remembering that, above all, the essence of creativity still hinges on the power of an idea. In a world saturated with evolving possibilities, navigating the noise, maintaining focus on the fundamental concept, and not allowing the ever-changing landscape to overshadow the importance of creative ideas is a daily hurdle.

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

I’ve never felt that you need to ‘look creative’ in order to be it. Every day is different, I tend to dress to match my mood. Plus I love denim shirts too much to restrict my wardrobe to just black.

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

Of course not. Limiting creativity to just the creative department means you'll witness the same set of creative minds coming up with ideas that mirror their styles or preferences. I think generating ideas that are worthy of people’s time and attention has never been harder. And the greater the diversity of perspectives that contribute to these ideas, the more culturally vibrant and relevant they have the potential to become.

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

We just wrapped a massive campaign for Samsung featuring global brand ambassadors, actress Sydney Sweeney and musician Sabrina Carpenter, alongside a cast of global icons and athletes sharing what made them switch to the Galaxy Z Flip5, enticing Gen MZ to follow suit and Join The Flip Side. The cast has a combined global audience of over 96 million, so it’s been really fun to see the work land in culture.

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