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Assorted Nuts: “We could dilute our game” warns BBH's Rosie Arnold of disruptive adverts across growing media platforms

Rosie Arnold, BBH’s deputy creative director and former president of D&AD, has expressed her concern at the advertising industry ‘diluting its game’ through disruptive advertising across multiple channels, while speaking to The Drum’s editor at large, Dave Birss as part of a series of interview for Assorted Nuts.

The interview, recorded while Arnold was still president of D&AD, has been released to highlight her involvement as one of the creative minds featured in Julian Hanford’s Assorted Nuts coffee table book of portraits representing the best creative talent in the UK, in association with The Drum.

Her main focus of concern, she explained, was the growing number of opportunities that the marketplace was creating to distract and annoy audiences across the growing number of media channels.

“We should behave like consumers and one of the things that we have to watch out for as advertisers is, in the past, we used to engage people and they loved looking at the ads. Now, too much we are doing interrupts people. People stop liking you when you do that,” she warned.

“If an advertiser has something pop up on YouTube advertising a product before the thing I want to watch, then I am annoyed by that. We have to be more responsible about how we use different media and think about what it’s like to be a consumer. At the moment, there are too many toys and marketers want to do it all without thinking how it feels to the person we are talking to. We must be mindful of that. We need to interrupt people but we need to do it in a way that is going to surprise and delight and add to their day, not just be a modern frustration.”

She added: “We need to be sensitive about the environment you’re in, how you’re communicating with people, what products they are going to like – and we have that information more than ever before.”

Arnold also aired her view that female creatives careers are hampered by the number of men judging creative awards, meaning that they award more male orientated brands.

“If you think about the films that women like, they are very different from what guys like. Primarily on awards juries we have a lot of guys, so no wonder the Nikes and the sports brands do well and we need to address that problem because the work we create isn’t going to appeal to the juries. I would be quite interested in trawling through the awards and see how many brands aimed at women win awards and how many brands aimed at men win awards. It is quite a different sensibility and your career progresses because you win awards and if you’re not being recognised.”

Arnold also discussed the challenges and experiences of being a female creative, some of her work in leading D&AD and the use of cross media by agencies and brands.

Yesterday, The Drum ran an interview with another subject of Assorted Nuts, advertising legend and BBH co-founder, Sir John Hegarty, who was outspoken on his belief that the quality of advertising in the UK was now ‘shit’.

More on the Assorted Nuts project can be found at The Drum dedicated page.

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