Laura Jordan Bambach: Pissing Guinness and hemp tampons and other creative ideas that can help save the world

Laura Jordan Bambach is chief creative officer at Mr President, a London-based independent creative agency. She has been a prominent voice in the industry for over 20 years, winning numerous awards for her work at Mr President, which won The Drum’s Agency of the Year and the AdAge International Small Agency of the Year while under her stewardship. She was also previously a president of D&AD.

Bambach is a strong advocate for diversity in the industry, and is the co-founder of SheSays – a global volunteer network that works to encourage more women in the creative industry. She is also the co-creator of the VOWSS, which showcases the world’s best work by women and the co-founder of The Great British Diversity Project.

Laura Jordan Bambach: Pissing Guinness and hemp tampons can help save the world

September is peak internship time in the UK and student pencil winners have been flooding my inbox. I’ve been to an enormous number of grad shows, and have done book crits with a steady stream of individuals and teams starting their first baby steps into our wonderful world. Full of energy, optimism and a genuine belief in our ability to make a difference in the world.

It’s been making me think about how our industry taps into the vast talent pool entering the industry this time of year, and how we might turn things on their heads through the power of unfiltered, unjaded thought and enthusiasm for change.

Because grads can change the world with their wonderful ideas, energy and lack of cynicism. So I’ve relaxed into some reverse mentoring this month, and am showcasing the most life-changing project ideas from our youngest and most talented pioneers.

Nigeria is one of Guinness’ biggest markets, and is suffering from soil degradation, with demand for fertilizer up enormously. What if we could help the soil, through the power of one of Nigeria’s favourite pints (and wee)? Give Back With Guinness is made by Lucy & Lauren from the SCA 2.0.

We are all about removing processed and bleached tampons from our bodies and being more sustainable. What if we could use hemp, a much more sustainable crop than cotton, and solve some of the symptoms of PMT at the same time through its natural cannabinols? I want these hemp tampons by Alex Bottner and Joe Colquhoun (SCA 2.0). Or Pad Paper from Joachim, Mark and Nicholas from the Danish School of Media and Communication. It’s is a brilliant way of getting around the luxury tax on sanitary pads by creating ‘rolls’ of pads dispensed in public toilets.

The Black and White Pencil winning Adidas Swim Cap empowering black girls to swim by taking care of their hair, by Savannah Firestone and Jack Parker from Watford College, is something Adidas and every other sportswear brand should do, now.

From D&AD Shift, we have a great piece of work for Formula E - Formula Equal, about creating gender equality in motorsport, by Jael and Iman.

Of course, these are all speculative campaigns, but if you wanted some examples where young creatives are going ahead and making things happen for real, look at:

The Personal Patient Pack by Máire Kane and Hannah Grogan and the National College of Art and Design: The design for respiratory equipment reduces NHS Single Use Devices medical waste 67% in emergency healthcare situations.

Or the new textile brand AWN, a collaboration between Florence Piccinini and her nan, upcycling 35 years of awning offcuts into sustainable bags.

Or Nate Agbetu from D&AD Shift who’s running education programmes through Nike and his social enterprise Playnice.london to connect communities in London and upskill and educate kids about the creative industries - who otherwise wouldn't know we exist.

And with Brexit on the horizon, what about this brilliant creative side hustle ME&EU, by D&AD New Blood alumni Sam Smith and Nathan Smith:

So many other schools from Commercial Break and Brixton Finishing School in Brixton, to the amazing courses in Norwich all the way of Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee are full of incredible young creatives full of ideas to make the world better, through brands.

But all of this great talent is still under threat by all of us. I’ve met teams who are still being paid as interns after nine months working at one agency, with no commitment to a full-time job. Creatives that are underpaid (or not at all) or who have been treated terribly in their first few months. Young people overlooked and underestimated. Let’s get behind all the creative pioneers out there just getting started, and maybe take a little of their passion to change the world into our own clients – and maybe some of them into our business too.

Sadly this week the industry lost another pioneer.

Cherie Matrix. Author, feminist, free spirit and powerful political force. A woman pivotal in the birth of the internet across the pond, and who’s been working tirelessly here to deliver the most innovative and forward-thinking projects ever since, from D&AD winning creative, to huge digital platforms, to making sure Glastonbury’s late-night venue, the Snakepit went off without a hitch.

I’ve known Cherie Matrix since 1996. She blew me away when I interviewed her for geekgirl about her book Tales from the Clit, which she edited at the peak of the Cyberfemminist movement. It was my first foray into journalism and I found myself in awe of an uncompromising and wild force in technology. When I met her in person years later, both having moved to London and working together at Glue, I made a dear friend full of heart; a fiercely intelligent and independent woman able to produce anything.

A bellydancer, a firebreather, queen of crochet, founder of Feminists Against Censorship and the mum to an incredible young woman full of the Matrix fire. Dog-lover, and tattoo goddess. A creative powerhouse. The strongest female energy I’ve ever known. Everyone you’ve ever touched is going to miss you, honey. Thanks for making our lives better, brighter and for challenging us to stay true.

Laura Jordan Bambach is the chief creative officer and co-founder of Mr President

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