Creative Poke Advertising Week

8 takeaways from Poke's Brilliant lectures: Wisdom from Mr Bingo, Amy Thomson of Future Girl Corp and Isobar's Simon Gill


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

April 4, 2017 | 9 min read

What do you get when you cross Publicis and Poke chief executive Nick Farnhill with a tambourine, a klaxon and three creatives? The answer, of course, is Poke's Brilliant lectures.


Mr Bingo's used a rap video to canvas support for his Kickstarter project

Every year during Advertising Week Europe the event provides an anecdote to serious industry panels, taking the form of a game show crossed with PechaKucha.

For the first time ever the series was hosted at our temporary West End boozer The Drum Arms – hosted by Farnhill and featuring short talks from artist Mr Bingo, Isobar's chief creative officer, Simon Gill and Amy Thompson co-founder of Seen.

The pub was full to the brim to hear insights around what inspired the panelists and what trends they think will have a role to play in shaping the industry's future.

For those unable to bustle for a seat The Drum has pulled together the top takeaways from the (somewhat sweary) event.

1. Build a tribe, people matter

seen people

Discussing the ethos that drove the creation of her own creative experiential and events agency, Seen, Thompson offered up advice on why agencies should invest in people and help them buy into the idea that collective power can create change.

"If you can get people to feel super empowered by what you're doing they work really hard and they do loads of really cool shit and you can get loads from them," she mused.

Her top three mantras on the matter include: Train and empower people to be better than you; assumptions are the mother of all fuck ups; and being human is much more relatable.

2. If you can write it, you can rap it

Over the past few years charismatic artist and self professed "professional troll" Mr Bingo, who used work as a commercial illustrator, has been producing his 'Hate Mail' project in which he sends people vintage postcards embellished with personal insults (more on that later...)

Forgoing traditional methods of garnering interest, Bingo enlisted the beats of producer Eli Sostre and got lyrical to get people to back his Kickstarter crowdfunding initiative to bind the postcards into a book - showing that sometimes doing something a little risky can help you stand out.

3. Make the mundane inspirational


Isobar's chief creative officer, Simon Gill, pointed to a theory he called the "remove control paradox," which mapped out how without the invention of the humble TV remote humans may have evolved to have fine finger control thanks to dialing in channels among other benefits.

"All of this is an important metaphor for what [creatives] do," he asserted, "you make it easy and you ruin society, you make it hard and no-one benefits."

"What this is really about it that we need to derive inspiration from mundane things and of course, make the mundane inspirational," he finished.

4. Don't be daunted by statistics


Seen founder Thompson is also co-founder of Future Girl Corp, an organisation which aims to inspire a new generation of young women to reach their potential.

The group was launched after she realised that just 4.4% of chief executive roles are held by women in 2017.

Rather than being put off by the shockingly low number, Thomson decided to "go out and try and inspire young girls and those coming through the ranks," to become more confident and change perceptions about how women think about themselves in the workplace."

As such, she developed a content-based business school linking young talent up with influential speakers, tutorials and other resources to help them advance in the industry.

5. Don't waste good ideas on companies

From my last project where I sent 100 hand made Valentines cards to strangers.

A post shared by Mr Bingo (@mr_bingstagram) on

Somewhat controversial advice to give to a room full of marketers, but Bingo credits his post-art college job at HSBC for spurring him on to go out and turn his own ideas into art.

After years of working as a freelance illustrator, in 2015 he finally set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund Hate Mail: The Definitive Collection - a book to showcase some of the 928 illustrations he had sent out as part of the project.

Each pledge was accompanied by a package; ranging from a signed copy of the book from £25 to £500 for a talk titled 'Fuck You and Your Company' which would be given to staff by none other than Bingo himself. In the end 3,732 backers pledged £135,146 to help bring the Hate Mail book project to life.

6. Free up your headspace


"Train your mind to see the positives so you can have head space to do more cool shit," advises Thomson.

Crediting psychologist Angela Duckworth's book Grit as an inspiration in life and business Thomson said: "If you can empower people to do great jobs in what they're doing it frees you up to feel more positive and have more headspace to do different projects. You can glean a lot more inspiration from all the different people around you."

7. People are more willing to engage than you think

Have nudie scratchy fun every day in December with the WORLDS GREATEST ADVENT CALENDAR Link in my bio! A post shared by Mr Bingo (@mr_bingstagram) on

"What I've learned in the past couple of years is that people are more fun than I thought. I thought most people were boring, that they all do the same thing, copy each other and then die," asserted Bingo.

"It turns out they're not boring, they're more interesting than I thought and they're more willing to engage in fun ideas and projects that I do," he added pointing to Hate Mail and the stunts he pulled to fund it - like drawing erotic pictures of Queen Elizabeth II on envolopes using the postal stamp as her head or getting "shit-faced" with a group of random bidders on a train.

8. If the hyper-reality becomes a reality, it's marketers' fault

Gill ended the presentation with an actual mic drop, showing a video from Keiichi Matsuda where the digital media and the physical world have merged to create a a kaleidoscopic "hyper reality".

"If that happens, it's your fault," he shouted at the audience, "maybe not personally but collectively you're responsible."

You can watch a full stream of Poke's Brilliant Lectures from The Drum Arms below.

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