Action Cures Fear

Award winning Creative Director Abi Ellis looks at how to make your own luck.

There’s being in the right place, at the right time, in the right culture with the right client. So what can we do to make our own luck?

These are strange times

And not in a cool, Netflix-y Stranger Things-y kind of way.

And I’m not even talking about the “Send Them Home” tweet from the supposed leader of the free world, or (pinch me now!) Boris taking the keys to No10, or bloody Brexit.

There’s surely enough to give us all the shivers within our industry?

Just take a look at the flat-lining UK marketing budgets revealed in the Q2 2019 Bellwether Report. And the slew of headlines saying there’s a crisis/turmoil/dearth of great ideas. Quick! Let’s retreat to the bunker where it smells, comfortingly, of marker pens and stale coffee… there’s even a ping pong table.

Spot the opportunity

Or, how about we embrace these strange times and spot the opportunity? Not in a Rees-Mogg disaster capitalism move. But in a making things happen stance. We need to be super creative in the coming months – with strategies and ideas that punch above their weight. Effective work doesn’t have to greedily gobble up giant budgets.

In uncertain times like these, we need to get smarter. Get slicker. Get our hustle on. And be super inventive… in collaboration with our clients.

At Lucky13 one of our principles that allows us to engineer luck is: “Action cures Fear”.

So, if industry folk are getting the collywobbles, let’s commit to making MORE actual work. You know, the consumer-facing stuff that helps sell products or services for our clients. Let’s put the INDUSTRY back into what we do.

Were we all to be brutally honest, in the last seven years or so, our industry has spent more and more time talking over one another in meeting rooms, whilst also creating PowerPoint deck after deck after deck (I’m guilty of once having got to v42).

A little less BS

Now is the time to talk less BS, and get more practical.


To make smart work with clients, at pace we have a few methods in our arsenal at Lucky13. We believe that “Beta Beats Alpha” for instance. In the digital age, done is better than perfect. We truly can iterate and hone after go–live. I’m a creative director formerly from the old world, where we’d labour over kerning as if our lives depended upon it, or spend three dark days in a Soho edit suite grading 30-seconds of film. So I’m definitely a geek for craft skills. But now I’d rather test and learn than miss the boat entirely with work that has become irrelevant whilst needlessly lengthy in production.
And who doesn’t love a pilot? These sneaky, affordable little siblings to the bloated projects that all eyes seem to be upon. A pilot is a great way try things out and experiment with your client, under the radar. If it falls on its arse, it’s no great loss. If it blows all targets, then scale it up and get in the bubbly for your client at the awards’ do.

Finally, the best work seems to now come from small squads of kindred spirits, all pulling in the same direction. And the client should be part of that team, too. You get to solutions faster, adopt a shared language, a hive mind and you all adhere to the vision.

In these strange times, let’s fight fear with action. Let’s be more fruitful. Making brilliant creative solutions together is way more edifying than making 70-slide decks.

Be lucky.

Abi Ellis is the Founder of Lucky13 and an award winning Creative Director in London and New York - notably for DigitasLBi, Cult LDN, Cult NYC and Wunderman. Abi presented her 13 Steps to Make Your Own Luck at the IPA Members’ Reception in Belfast earlier this summer.

Last updated 01 May 2024