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On bravery, belief, and being underestimated

In the recent Spikes Asia 2018, DDB Worldwide CEO’s Wendy Clark talked about “How Bravery, Belief, Being Underestimated Fuels Brands, Agencies, Careers”. She also discussed how essential bravery, belief, and being underestimated is essential in driving impact for brands, success for agencies, and in accelerating career growth. 

Greg Martin III, Ace Saatchi & Saatchi’s Executive Creative Director, shares with us his insights and key takeaways on Clark’s very insightful session.

Words by Greg Martin III


“Who of you have ever been underestimated?” Wendy Clark asked the audience.

I didn’t raise my hand. Not because I’ve never been underestimated. I was just a bit shy. It was the first day of Spikes and I was listening to the CEO of DDB Worldwide give a talk on How Bravery, Belief, Being Underestimated Fuels Brands, Agencies, Careers.

She gave a talk that was, I felt, relevant to the situation we find ourselves in.

Her overview of the world was that everybody had gotten used to getting whatever they want at the speed of now. We expect information, services and goods delivered faster than ever before. Our clients, in turn, expect the same of us.

It is within the context of this high-speed world that agencies are trying to find ways to be more agile — turning around high quality work at the speed of now in the midst of shrinking budgets and rising competition. It’s a situation where bravery and belief is sorely needed and being underestimated in one way or another is par for the course.

She showed examples of brave work — the multi-awarded Skittles super bowl ad that was seen by only one person. A brave move not only for the brand, but most especially for the creatives who had to get it across the line.

Stayfree’s Project Free Period. An insightful campaign that gave Indian sex workers alternate livelihood training in the only days they were free — during their period.

And McDonald’s International Women’s Day, where McDonald’s stores flipped their golden arches to form a “W” to celebrate that day.  

These and other bold work like Marmite Gene Test and Re:Scam by Net Safe NZ require a combination of personal bravery, curiosity and passion as well as a firm belief that it can be done.

And if others say it can’t, Wendy tells us to let their underestimation be the fuel we need to prove them wrong.  

Our industry is in flux and in this ever-shifting landscape, we will find ourselves in uncharted territory. And when we do face the unknown, I intend to be personally braver. I will continue to believe in nothing is impossible. But I will still not raise my hand in big gatherings. That would be overestimating my kind of brave. 


About Greg Martin III 

Greg Martin III is Ace Saatchi & Saatchi’s Executive Creative Director, in-house bartender and oenophile. In between mixing cocktails and pouring wine, he’s managed to do some actual work that’s worked. This has created happy clients, strong brands, and has allowed the agency to decorate the Saatchi bar with various international and local trophies. In his spare time he writes about himself in the third person because he feels weird delegating that task.

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