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Member Spotlight: Kerry Friend

One of our D&AD Membership perks is our Members’ Spotlight feature that takes a moment to celebrate the work of different industry professionals. Each interview gives creatives a virtual soapbox, asking what they’re currently working on, what are they most proud of, and if there were one piece of work they wish they’d been responsible for, what would it be?

Meet Kerry Friend...

Introduce your place of work.

Isobar is a global full service digital marketing agency, which is part of the Dentsu Aegis Network. It’s a sizeable network as there are 66 Isobar offices in 41 markets worldwide, and we’re now making huge inroads into Africa. I’d say the unique offering of Isobar is that we’re part of a media group with innovative tools, which allows us to draw on the brains trust within the group to make the creative work more credible - as opposed to me going to the client with just a ‘sick’ (local slang for awesome) idea without any results-driven spine.

The other unique position we’re in is that we have an Isobar nowlab programme, which takes on any number of guises across the different markets, from R&D to maker spaces. Innovation is currently an overused buzzword and everyone is scrambling to start a lab to signal that they’re on the cutting edge of the cusp of the next big thing. But I can honestly say that this is not a marketing gimmick within Isobar, as I’ve been engaging with people from across the network that are sincerely dedicated to experimenting with various initiatives to make this a reality across all disciplines. I’m gong to tip my hat to Dave Meeker at this point, the head of nowlab global.

Isobar logo for Kerry Friend's Member Spotlight

What are you currently working on?
Currently we’ve been hosting a number of Isobar nowlab ‘Create sessions’, which take place over 12 hours. They’re loosely themed and the teams are made up of various disciplines, from designers, strategists and technologists. The projects that develop are good ways to expose people from different departments to new ways of thinking and creating. Some projects are taken further and prototyped to sell onto clients, but most often they’re just good fun and do wonders for the spirit of the agency. As you can see by the quality of this video, they’re quick and dirty, and generally very low budget.

An example: The Gif Gun – making guns a happy thing.

Isobar Nowlab South Africa - Happy Hack Dec 2014 - Winner

What work are you most proud of?

This is one of the projects I’ve had the most fun with when I was at hellocomputer South Africa, in collaboration with FCB Johannesburg. We turned the Johannesburg zoo’s honey badger into their social media spokesanimal.

The World's First LIVE Tweeting Honey Badger

What work from our Archive makes you think ‘I wish I’d done that’?
Chrome Web Lab is one of those damn-that’s-so-awesome-on-so-many-levels projects I wish I’d done. It was a series of Google Chrome experiments done for the London Science museum that featured interactive real world meets the online world installations, from sketchbots that sketched photographs in sand to internet-powered orchestras. It was a great combination of intelligently and beautifully crafted design and whimsy. And of course I wish I’d had the opportunity to work with so many talented collaborators who are so highly skilled in their field.

Chrome Web Lab
Chrome Web Lab / Nomination / Digital Design / Websites / 2013

What’s the best advice you’ve received during your career?

A few years ago the Chief Creative Officer of FCB, Jonathan Harries, told me that his job was to make sure that he provided his team with two things, the opportunity and means to create great work. It seems simple enough, but it can be a very difficult equation to keep balanced. It has helped me assess the merits of joining an agency and has also been my compass when leading a team. It’s good to keep asking yourself if you’re providing the opportunity and means to help your team be great.


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