Baz’s Creative Hero: Myka England

by | Feb 29, 2024 | Thinking | 0 comments

Our Creative Director, Baz Hayman was asked who was his creative hero by LBBOnline – The one that had inspired him the most in his career was the brilliant Myka England.

LBB> Who would you say is your creative hero? 

Baz> They say you never forget your first, so maybe it’s no surprise my ‘creative hero’ is my first ever creative director Myka England. To this day, Myka still influences how I both work and write. In fact, on pretty much every brief I’ve worked over the proceeding 20 plus years, I can hear her voice in my ear… mostly saying things like “is that actually creatively exciting? Are you excited by that? Does it give you any kind of warm creative feeling at all?” .

LBB> How long has she been important to you and what are your first memories of meeting her or coming across her work?

Baz> The first time I spoke to Myka I was sitting back at my parents’ house having recently graduated from university. I had no job (ripping tickets at the local multiplex wasn’t exactly the bright future I had in mind) and no future placements in the pipeline. Then a call came out of the blue. “Do you love ads?” “Do you love rugby?” “Do you wanna come to London and start tomorrow?” The answer was a resounding yes (even though, if truth be told, I’d never watched a game of rugby in my life).

LBB> Why is she such an inspiration to you? 

Baz> Open and approachable people, no matter their position, always have the most influence on me.  And on our first day at the Joshua, me and my art director saw someone walking down the corridor carrying a rather large office door. It soon become apparent that the new agency CD Myka had asked it to be removed from her office. Now that’s taking the idea of ‘my door is always open ‘ to a whole new level. That simple, yet somewhat strange gesture made me immediately feel that I could always walk in and share my ideas.

LBB> How does she influence you in your approach to your creative work? 

Baz> Myka England taught me two simple things I still do on every creative brief I work on.

1. Stick your ideas up on the wall for everyone to see. This can be a headline, a rough scamp, a picture that might inspire the art direction later. It might be an early thought, a half-baked idea that you wouldn’t normally dream of sharing because you know it’s not quite right yet. But, by getting it on the wall, you’re also getting it out of your head, which means more importantly you can start thinking of something else. Plus, when it’s all on display other creatives (and let’s face it far better ones than I was at the time) can walk past and make comments. They can help make it better with a passing remark, and who know, maybe even spark an idea for them? Myka showed us that creativity isn’t an insular job. Share it and be open to comments at all times. It’s something I’ve done at every agency I’ve worked at since. I even did it in lockdown when they only passing people who saw it was my wife and two grumpy cats.

2. When you’re writing for a brand, just picture which celebrity would be their spokesperson (Michael Palin for a travel brand or perhaps Jonny Vegas for a beer) then write as if you’re doing an impression of that celeb. This simple method is a great way to hit the TOV quickly and consistently. Plus, it gives you someone to sense check against. Would that person say it like that? If not, change it to how they’d talk. You can almost hide behind that person, it’s not you writing the copy… it’s them.

LBB> What piece or pieces of her work do you keep coming back to and why?

Baz> I remember walking into Myka’s office (still no door) and seeing a few British Arrows, a Cannes Lion, and a sprinkling of other ad awards sitting on a shelf. Naturally I wanted to see the work that had won them. And it just happened to be one of the best Smirnoff executions in history – Smarienberg. A beautifully executed and inspiring idea that still stands the test of time some 25 years later.

About Baz

After winning a student D&AD pencil for the Economist, Baz started his 20 year advertising career as a copywriter, creating ATL ads for Zurich, The London Eye and Sony Ericsson. As well as working full time at Joshua, GGT and Iris Worldwide, he also enjoyed successful freelance stints at some of London’s most famous agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, DLKW, Karmarama and Dentsu, before finally finding a home at Kitchen in 2012. 

Now as the creative director at Kitchen, he leads the creative and design teams across branding, advertising and activation. 

Baz enjoys making work that becomes part of everyday conversion, and is a big believer in the power of big ideas for positive change.

He has applied this method at Kitchen across pretty much every media imaginable. Whether TV for Rubicon, House Network and most recently Mrs Elswood, targeted digital media for McDonald’s, or even giant interactive ice blocks for Switzerland Tourism dropped all around the capital.