Shuffling Party Rock hamsters? Yeah, Colin Jeffery is behind that. But both Colin and David&Goliath, where he is Executive Creative Director and Managing Partner, are much bigger than just the hamsters. Bigger than the cultural movement they instigated, and the turbo-jet speed at which they’ve propelled Kia into the forefront of the car market. Colin Jeffery is a worldly creative leader. His journey began in his native South Africa, where he learned from the some of the greats at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris and helped build King James in Cape Town. Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore was next before heading for the States. Colin produced a long list of award-winning work for Volkswagen at Arnold Boston, and then began nurturing brave creatives and even braver work at David&Goliath. He has done more cool things than can fit in one interview, including writing The Check Up, a film that premiered at Sundance and was selected for the LA Film Festival, and he has also won the full gamut of accolades, including Cannes Lions, D&AD, Clios, One Show and Effies, to name a few. He was cranking on 2012 Super Bowl work when IHAVEANIDEA caught up with him, and we’re thankful he paused to share some of his time and bring you some of his wisdom.
IHAVEANIDEA: Tell me about growing up in South Africa and Cape Town. It’s such an inspiring, creative place.
Colin: Yeah, absolutely, I think it is inspiring. South Africa is a giant mixing pot of color, culture, art, music and beliefs. While it has an incredibly complicated history, there’s something very simple, optimistic and soulful about it. Growing up I spent a lot of time outdoors, in the mountains, on boats and in the bush, it’s hard to describe, just vast and beautiful, really. I’ve always had a love and respect for the local art and music scene. As a student I was fascinated by township art and music, that’s truly inspired creativity. Sam Nhlengethwa is still my favorite artist; we have some of his work hanging in our home here in LA.
As a young kid I was fascinated by brands and marketing, largely due to the fact that we had limited exposure to international brands and the latest “cool” products. I still remember the first ad that really resonated with me; it was a Nike print ad that must have been in an overseas publication. It was just a young boy sitting on a basketball looking into camera, and underneath it simply read, “Someday.” It was such a powerful message, it made we want to be a famous athlete, wear Nike and be creative. Not sure who produced it, but “thank you.” I actually tore it out of the magazine and put it in one of my boxes of childhood memorabilia, and I still have it somewhere in my folk’s house in South Africa.
Even though art was something that I loved, I wasn’t entirely sure how to make a career out of it. Art Direction and Graphic design were not career choices that our teachers discussed at high school. Creative was still this kind of weird uncharted territory. Luckily for me, Brian Searle-Tripp and Allan Raaff (South African ad industry veterans and all-round great guys) had recently opened the Red and Yellow School and the program focused purely on advertising creative. I signed up and got to work.