Since joining M&C Saatchi as group executive creative director in 2012, Elspeth Lynn has led defining campaigns for the likes of Transport for London, NatWest bank, Virgin Holidays and Peroni Nastro Azzurro beer. Throughout her career, Ms. Lynn has worn a lot of hats, from working at traditional agencies like DDB, Leo Burnett and Ammirati & Puris in Canada to opening her own, award-winning Toronto agency, Zig, with two partners in 1998. She arrived in London in 2008 to take up the post of ECD at digital agency Profero before being offered her current job at M&C Saatchi. Here are a few things you don't know about her in the latest installment of "Six Things."
1. She doesn't sound like it, but she was born in London. Her father moved the whole family to Canada when she was seven. And unfortunately, the last thing you want to have in Canada when you're seven is a British accent. So after years of honing her Canadian accent, she came back to London in 2008. Only to have people ask her if she's American.
2. She does interior design "on the side". Nothing makes her happier than transforming spaces. She's on her fourth home renovation in six years. All, for one reason or another, were sold post-renovation. She believes that hotels are the best inspiration and that hotel design makes people feel happy and looked after. She is also not averse to the feeling of luxury. She just redesigned the first and second floors at M&C Saatchi and is currently working on the third floor. No surprise that doing the 'The House of Peroni' for the agency's beer client was right up her alley.
3. She's obsessed with designing the perfect dress. And not necessarily just for herself. But for any other woman. She believes that almost every woman goes shopping and thinks … "I would love that dress if it were shorter/longer/wider/low-cut/sleeveless/had longer sleeves/blue instead of black/khaki instead of blue." In other words, it's hard to find the perfect dress, and every woman should have a dress that makes her feel brilliant. Just as she is. The right color, fit, and style. If someone gave Ms. Lynn a whole warehouse of material, she would happily design a bespoke dress for every woman she knows. A kind of fashion goodwill.
4. She forced her way into art college. During her interview at OCAD in Toronto, the interviewer told her since she had a university degree in art and art history she shouldn't go to school anymore, but just go out and get a job. She knew that a degree wasn't enough. She told him that art college was essential to get into advertising, and that she would come back every year until he let her in. The next week she got her acceptance letter.
5. One woman inspired her to get into advertising. "Hore here." This is how Marlene Hore, ECD of JWT in Canada, used to answer the phone. For those who didn't respond quickly enough, she simply hung up. But when Ms. Lynn entered advertising, there were not a lot of female creative leaders. There was only one. Marlene. And Ms. Lynn thought, well, if she can do it, maybe I can, too.
6. Two principles never fail her: Be fair and do the right thing. She works hard to ensure they guide her in everything she does. Whether it's dealing with clients, colleagues, advertising, interiors or relationships. Confused at all? One of these two principles always solves the problem.