Another look back at d.fferent’s evolution over the past 15 years. This time it’s from from another one of the ‘originals’, Sue Storey. Sue is a copywriter and senior creative, so she spends her days producing words and ideas.
I started at d.fferent on the 8th of May 2002, and by that time I’d already been to my first company party – the 3rd birthday bash, held at The Cluny that spring. Highlights of that one included huge blown-up photos of all the directors, aged 3, on the walls, a proposal of marriage (not to me) and the fact that I could still fit into my pvc jeans despite having baby Jack, who was at the time gearing up to wake me at dawn the following morning.
The company only had about 22 members of staff at the time and was incredibly busy (no changes there then), so I hit the ground running on the Barker and Stonehouse, Blueroom and Northern Land accounts, fine-tuning my writing skills under Chris Rickaby’s expert eye and delighting in the creative freedom and the buzz of being part of the North East agency to watch. We were based in 10 Summerhill Square then and the creative department was in the attic, where Marko, Rickers, young team Stew and Carlo and I all squashed in under the eaves. New work came flooding in, including the award-winning Hepatitis awareness campaign for Durham Drugs Action Team. I remember being at the shoot for the cinema commercial, at a very young Alex Telfer’s studio, watching the model holding her breath as she was slowly submerged in a bathful of fake blood – dramatic stuff.
The hard work was balanced with equally hard play, and the first of the company’s legendary away trips was mooted not long after I started. We descended on Dublin, threw our bags into the guest house and went clubbing, hobbling back (barefoot in my case) for a proper Irish breakfast. Such was the team-building success of that little jaunt that others followed, to Copenhagen (cue Ken’s pink hair, rollercoaster riding in Tivoli Gardens and Marko dancing in the fountains), Paris, Barcelona and Palma. Not quite sure which one of these featured Joe racing in a shopping trolley, but it was all good.
So what’s changed since then? Well, we’ve changed location, identity (twice), dabbled in TV content, embraced our digital and social sides, expanded into research, insight and charitable activities and forged excellent links with further and higher education providers to share our knowledge and experience and tap into upcoming generations of talent. Just about the only thing that’s stayed the same is the fact that we’re still d.fferent. And long may we continue to be so.