Chris Arnold – The Futures Interview

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Chris Arnold

Meet Chris Arnold, a rockstar of the advertising world – a former Creative Director of Saatchi & Saatchi is co-founder of the new generation creative advertising agency Creative Orchestra – the first of its kind. As well as an award winning creative and innovator, he is one of the UK’s leading experts in ethical marketing and author of Ethical Marketing & the Ethical Consumer (published by Wiley). He’s currently writing a new book on creativity, THUNK (a different way to think) and a book on Maverick Brands. He was both a board director and a Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi before setting up FEEL and then BLAC.

He has also been creative director of Draft Worldwide and has worked in 15 different agencies and on over 400 top brands. A former board member of the DMA (Europe’s largest marketing trade body) he’s been the Chairman of both the Agency Council and the Creative Council. Chris has also sat on a number of advisory boards to charities, including the Family Planning Association and the Dyslexia Institute

Chris has written for many publications, including the FT, Creative Review, Impact, The Times, Third Sector, Brand Strategy, Canvas8, the weekly ethical blog on Brand Republic and has just been signed up by the Huffington Post. He’s also appeared as a marketing expert on BBC’s Working LunchWatchdog and in a number of documentaries on marketing on Channel 4 and the BBC. He lectures around the world on creativity, advertising and ethical marketing and also works in colleges and schools cultivating creativity.  He is also founder of the Crouch End Creatives collective and is currently organising Crouch End’s first Arts Festival. Creative Orchestra has redefined how the ad agency is structured and it’s values, Campaign called it the “new Mother”. 

?!X: What’s the Future You Choose?

CA: A future where everyone has the potential of a future. There are many in our societies and across the world who have no opportunities, no power, no wealth, little education and support and therefore have no way to make a better life. For them life is survival, the future isn’t even on the agenda. Being able to discuss what the future holds is the privilege of the wealthy and empowered.

?!X: What’s a ‘think’ to create this future?

CA: My think was a homeless man I met in the Norway. He was intelligent, didn’t drunk but seemed helpless. I chatted to him for a while trying to understand how he got to this position in life. He told me he’d had a good job, a good income, a home, family and then one day it all fell apart. He lost his job. At first he thought he’d get another but as the months passed the debts grew, his confidence crumbled, he came stressed and suffered a mild breakdown. Finally they took his house away. His wife left him. “Suddenly I was on the streets. No one in the position I was in ever thinks you can fall this low but it can happen to anyone. And once you are down here it’s like a deep well, almost impossible to climb back up.” Boy did that make me think about what you have and only by thinking about how we can fall back can we consider how we go forward.

?!X: What’s an ‘act’ to create the future you choose?

CA: The best act you can do is to simply act. 99% of us say we’ll do things and don’t. Just do one thing you said you’d do, do it well and if all of us did that what a difference it’d make.

?!X: What’s a ‘vote’ to create the future you choose?

CA: I’d ask everyone to vote to be part of a community. Communities are powerful groups that can create change but also protect things.

?!X: Future Soundtrack – What song would you take with you into the future?

CA: PropellerHeads with Shirley Bassey – History Keeps repeating.

Ironic track, great music and video.

?!X: Can you share with us up to 5 weblinks that you find interesting and inspiring?

Ted Talks

Canvas 8

Brand Republic

?!X: And why Think Act Vote? 

CA: ” The future belongs to those that are inspired, who take risks, who push down the barriers of conformity and ignore the pessimists. To those that not only see change but make the change.”

Follow Chris on twitter @EcoSuperMan

Inspired to tell us The Future You Choose? You can here.