Celebrating 10 years of Adam & Eve DDB with Head of Photography and Illustration Daniel Moorey
Daniel Moorey is Head of Photography and Illustration with Adam & Eve DDB. We’ve been working with him since 2007, when he was at DDB alongside Sarah Thomson, who’s now with Ogilvy, and Helen Parker, who’s with Blink Art these days. Daniel stayed fast when DDB combined forces with then up-and-coming indie agency Adam & Eve, and now that Adam & Eve DDB are turning 10, we thought we’d catch up with Daniel to reminisce a little, and get his take on what the future may hold for illustration and photography in the commercial world.
How does one become Head of Photography and Illustration?
One doesn’t is probably the clearest answer! With the growth of the digital age the earlier role of an art buyer has broadened out in many ad agencies to also incorporate project management skills, film production skills, digital skills. I’m not convinced the crossover with project management works but the role of a ‘producer’ that can be involved in different ways of making still images/events/films/websites/VR etc. is a more relevant one. Many agencies have assistant producers which is a great way to learn your trade or even which bits of producing you enjoy most. The best agencies, though, retain expertise in each of the different disciplines. While on some jobs a producer needs to work in different media, it takes a long time to build up the knowledge that a traditional art buyer had.
Was DDB your first job in the role?
No I worked at AMV BBDO for ten years before ddb and Adam & Eve DDB, another great agency that produces great work.
Do you remember the first job you worked on with Breed?
Yes! It was a fantastic illustration campaign for VW called Incredible but True. We had an incredible fact for each ad and then used a different artist for each ad to illustrate the fact. The design template meant you knew it was all part of the same campaign even though there were about 20 different illustration styles used. It’s something Dave Dye used most memorably with his Merrydown Cider campaign, one of my all-time favourites. For VW Neal Murren drew two foxes waiting for a chicken to drop from the sky to the line ‘the longest recorded flight of a chicken is 18 seconds’. Genius stuff. (Shown below)
How do you decide which artist is right for a brief?
It’s a combination of the visual world the client already inhabits, the idea, and sometimes the design world needed. The joy of illustration compared to photography is that you can work with anyone anywhere in the world and you don’t need to worry so much about personalities and previous experience. As long as the illustrator isn’t a complete pain it’s all much more controllable than a shoot. Using a really distinctive style for the first time on a big campaign can be a nice thing to aim for.
You worked with Neal Murren on Financial Times and Steven Wilson on Harvey Nicks among others. Do you have any particular memories of working with Breed artists?
Neal on the FT was interesting because he has a wonderfully distinctive style but he thought the best solution for the ad was to do it in CG and he was right! Steven is always great to work with and is a thoroughly nice man. He worked on a Harvey Nichols ad in the style of a computer game that won a few awards and he also designed graphics for the iconic VW Beetle as an option at point of sale, so I still occasionally spot them around and about.
Has your role changed over the years?
Yes, a lot! Not so much when I worked as an art buyer and then running a team of art buyers. More so when I started also working in live action film, animation and more tech-based projects involving projection mapping or lidar scanning. I like learning new things and the digital era has thrown up a lot of new things to learn. The key thing for me is that projects have a good idea at their core, I’m lucky to work on a lot of great stills work at Adam & Eve DDB and when there is a crossover into film the good idea often follows through. A good example of this is the Marmite Summer of Love/Summer of Hate stills campaign that we worked on with Jim Stoten – we also did an animation of a Love Kitten and a Hate Monster singing at each other in the same style as the stills!
What pieces really stand out for you from your time with Adam & Eve DDB?
There’s been a lot of great work that I have touched on already but Marmite and Financial Times have some good history. Harvey Nichols though is probably the best advertising account I will work on in my career and my favourite ad is probably last year’s still image and film celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Vogue with a wonderful 100-year-old lady called Bo. When our client saw the film they cried and you can’t ask for more than that.
Do you notice distinct trends in what clients are looking for, or does each client have their own set preferences?
Not so much in illustration at the moment, I’d say. There is such a broad range of styles out there compared to when I first started and, interestingly, not many styles have died away. New styles have just been added to the mix. There are few brands that have a visual history predominantly using illustration, so often there is an element of flexibility in who is used. What is sometimes tricky is that a client’s relationship to illustration can be pretty minimal and they can find it hard to explain why they like or dislike something, which can at times take a while to get to the bottom of.
What do you think the future holds for illustration and photography in advertising?
More film. And more practitioners making film a core part of their practice alongside stills. That’s not to say everyone needs to do film, but the odd gif is probably a good idea at the least.
What kind of art do you put on your own walls at home?
Nothing to do with my work! Huge large format landscape photographs, paintings from friends, maps. One of my favourite things is a small embroidered landscape that I bought in the Northern Irish town of Derry that was made in 1972 which was at the height of the troubles and Bloody Sunday. The idea of someone working on an idealised landscape at a time of violent political conflict always intrigues me. Since the work in my day job is very temporal I like to have things at home that have a sense of history.