by Carey Finn (@carey_finn) Camilla Clerke (@Milz_rara), the executive creative director of recently formed HelloFCB+, sat down to talk shop. She was previously creative director at Hellocomputer Cape Town.

Q5: How has the role of ECD evolved since you first stepped into the industry?
Camilla Clerke: When I first stepped into the industry as an intern to the intern, the role of an ECD was to ensure the very best creative output, from hiring the right talent to inspiring the creative teams and casting an eye over every single piece of work produced — down to the last print ad. Then digital happened. Mobile phones became a computer in one’s pocket. Social media became the way to find a date on a Saturday night. And quickly the industry evolved, from what we offer our clients to how we measure success and the tools we use to connect with our clients’ audiences. With that, the role of an ECD evolved, too. The creative output is still first and foremost but getting there is different. It requires an intimate knowledge of every single area of business — from a client’s objectives to integrated strategy, platform “360” ideas, and data and technology. So, no, an ECD won’t see every link ad. But an ECD will lead their teams to groundbreaking creative solutions.

Q5: What goals, both personal and professional, do you hope to achieve in this role?

CC: To work with, and grow, the most-talented humans. Ever. People inspire me. And our industry centres around humans. Clients, colleagues, partners, mentors, target audiences, and the emotional connections we make. Empathy will always be the key to inspired teams. Motivated clients. Excellent creative. And great problem-solving. And great problem-solving builds brands. It also sometimes adds a few pieces of metal to the agency mantlepiece. Just saying.

Q5: How do those tie into the overall goals of the agency, going into 2020?
CC: Our goals are people-focused. To build brands by connecting our clients to their audiences. To grow future leaders in this industry. To build a better South Africa by focusing on transformation and female empowerment.

Q5: Your background is in writing. What skills do you think are needed to be a successful ECD?
CC: You need to be an eternal student. Never stop listening, learning and being open-minded. Because great ideas come from anyone, and anywhere. You also can’t be afraid to fail.

Q5: What can we do to see more females stepping into the role of ECD in South Africa?
CC: It’s simple. By insisting more females have a seat at the table. Actually, the head of the table.


Carey FinnCarey Finn (@carey_finn) is a writer and editor with a decade and a half of industry experience, having covered everything from ethical sushi in Japan to the technicalities of roofing, agriculture, medical stuff and more. She’s also taught English and journalism, and dabbled in various other communications ventures along the way, including risk reporting. As a contributing writer to, her new regular column “Q5” aims to hone in on strategic insights, analysis and data through punchy interviews with experts in media, marketing and design.

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