The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Eurphoria In Disappointment …

My last day at R/GA was great.

That might sound weird, but it was.

Part of it was because I started the morning with the brilliant Brixton Finishing School listening to a bunch of students answering a brief I gave them with passion, mischief and possibility and part of it was because I got to spend significant time with my brilliant planning gang to say goodbye.

But there was another reason, which is that the first thing I did when my life at R/GA was over – literally within 30 minutes of being officially made unemployed – I was doing an interview with Faisal Ahmend about diversity and inclusion in adland.

And while it is an issue I am very, very passionate about …

And while I continue to feel the industry only gives a superficial response to it …

And while my headphones and wifi makes me sound like I’m Darth Vader speaking from a tin box with intermittent wifi …

…. even I’m slightly suprised how upbeat I sound on such a significant day in my career.

But then, as I said in the post that announced it, not only was I glad this happened to me rather than a person of colour, a woman or a youngster starting out in their career – who are often the first victims in these situations – the reality is the last time this happened to me, it led to the most exciting and creative time of my career and so I felt no reason to feel anything other than optimistic about the future.

Now I admit with hindsight, that may have been naive of me – especially with all the shit going on in the World with pandemics and political fighting, not to mention my old, old, old, old, age – however based on all that has happened to me since that I announced I’d been made redundant, my hunch has been proved to be right.

So far. Hahahaha

Normally I hate listening or reading things I say.

I spend the whole time slapping my head either muttering, “why did I say that?” … “why didn’t I say that?” … or “why am I jumping about and rambling like I’m a loon?”

However this one is a bit different.

Sure there’s things I wish I rephrased.

Sure there’s things that I might have got slightly wrong.

But at the end of the day, I say the one thing that I feel had to be said … the one thing to counter the excuse I continually hear why there is not more diversity in adland today.

When asked how do I find the people to add diversity to my team, I respond …

“You don’t have to ‘find them’, they’re everywhere … you just have to want them.”

You can listen to it here.

You can listen to far more intelligent and articulate people here.

And, as usual, I huge thank you to all the people who have – and continue to – help me on my journey to being a much, much better human. Especially Maya, Breanna, Chelsea, Lani, Hannah, Amar, Omar, Erika, David, Sue, Jorge, Karrelle, Jason, Tahaab, Charinee, Leon, Debi, Tina, Kate, PQ, Rodi, Jay, Akua, Yaya and Bayyina.

22 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It is that easy. Well said Robert.
I love you are refusing to stop this issue being front and center of the industry conversation.

Comment by George

Also, your whole approach to redundancy has been amazing. I know you are in a much better position than most, but it is still inspiring how you are dealing and talking about it.

Comment by George

He is only allowed one compliment a week. Please keep to the agreed allowances.

Comment by Bazza

I’m surprised you are not locked in a bunker trying to deal with the Epic Games mic drop.

Comment by George

It’s a pretty epic move by errrrrm, Epic.

Obviously planned waaaaaaay in advance, which both proves they know Apple’s playbook and they believe winning the gaming community – not just the Fortnite community – will be more threatening to Apple than any lawsuit.

It seems Epic are approaching this whole episode like a massive game of Fortnite. It will get sorted. It will be done out of the spotlight. But it’s bloody interesting.

Comment by Rob

No comment.

Comment by Bazza

Corporate toady. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Yeah, this is cool Rob. When companies are now very quiet about the BLM movement, you are still pushing the issue and the agenda.

Comment by Bazza

The cool thing would be if we all use our position to push the agenda. I don’t mean you guys specifically as I know you are – but I mean any senior white male.

Create opportunity.
Create equality.
Create space to succeed and grow.

Comment by Rob

Fantastic interview Rob. Amazing you did it on your last day at R/GA. I have to say you seem to be reborn since your redundancy. Back to your mischievous, energetic self. Not that you weren’t like that at R/GA, but there seems to be a bigger spring in your step. You deserve it and it appears a broad range of interesting brands want it. R/GA are a far less interesting company without you.

Comment by Pete

What Peter wrote.

Comment by George

Reborn may be a bit much … but yes, I definitely feel invigorated. This is terrible news for Jill and Otis, hahaha.

In all seriousness, I feel a bit embarrassed by how fortunate I‘ve been. I’ve been asked to get involved in some amazing creative projects by people I deeply respect. I’ve got some amazing work from the sort of global clients any agency would kill to work on. I’m being introduced to people that I have no right to be in the company of.

That this has all happened to an unemployed bloke in London is hugely humbling, but I’m super grateful.

So yeah, maybe reborn is right … it certainly feels good to have very well respected people and brands actively seek you out for the specific way you look at the World. Even if I see a lot of ‘gulping’ in meetings when I’m presenting. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

Your version of unemployed is not unemployed.

Comment by Bazza

Most un-unemployed person in advertising.

Comment by George

only fucker who becomes richer unemployed than when he “works”.

Comment by andy@cynic

He’s a prick

Comment by Billy Whizz


Comment by Bazza

Put another way. You don’t have to talk about it, you just have to want to do it. Good conversation. Better post.

Comment by John

it blows my fucking mind you are asked for your opinion on anything. maybe youre not, maybe you force people to listen to it. its what youve been doing your whole fucking career.

Comment by andy@cynic

I was going to say I don’t know how you find the time to do all this stuff, but then you just have more time to do this stuff.

Nice interview and less swearing than I expected. You’re maturing.

Comment by DH

Very slowly.

Comment by Pete

Excellent interview.
For a Queen fan, you are an amazing man

Comment by northern

Leave a Reply