2 Minutes With … Amanda Kitchen, ECD at TANK Worldwide
Amanda is an executive creative director at TANK Worldwide, where she leads teams and helps brands grow into the best versions of themselves. For nearly 15 years, Amanda has worked with some of the biggest names in health and wellness, including GSK, Pfizer, Abbvie and Novartis.
We spent two minutes with Amanda to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.
Amanda, tell us ...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up on a beautiful plot of land surrounded by trees in the middle of nowhere in Severn Township, which is just outside of Orillia, Ontario. I moved to Toronto when I started my career and spent many years enjoying everything city living offers. When the pandemic hit, my partner and I found ourselves trying to work on Zoom in an open-concept loft, which wasn't sustainable, so we've moved to our cottage and live by a lake near Toronto.
How you first got interested in health.
I needed to find a way to be an advertiser without selling my soul. Health felt like an area where I could have a positive impact on people's lives and make a difference in the world. There are so many opportunities to tell important stories in this sector. I get to use my creativity for products that save lives.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.
How do you ever choose between your children? I guess one of my favorite projects would be my first big campaign. My partner and I did a spot for EpiPen that we called "Obvious Allergens"—think an enormous peanut on top of a cake and a comically large shrimp in a salad. It was a great first rodeo because this fun idea we had won us a pitch, became a full campaign and was picked up internationally.
A recent project you're proud of.
I just returned from maternity leave so my family would be the project I'm most proud of recently. However, while I was out, my team crafted a moving campaign called "Lullabye" that I am so proud of. "Lullabye" calls attention to the important inequities that exist in the healthcare system for Black mothers. For example, the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of all industrialized countries, and for Black women that risk is 3.5 times higher. In addition to this, the CDC states that 84 percent of maternal deaths are preventable. The team worked with Dr. Shalon's Maternal Action Project and used AI to bring Dr. Shalon's voice back posthumously for one last lullabye.
One thing about how health is evolving that you're excited about.
Big brands, top talent, award shows—we've seen all kinds of growth in health, which is exciting. It's always been such an important area to work in because there are so many compelling human stories to tell and challenges to solve. It's great to see our industry joining in.
Someone else's work, in health or beyond, that you admired lately.
A book, movie, TV show, or podcast you recently found inspiring.
I haven't been able to get Alua Arthur's TED Talk out of my head. It's about thinking about your death, in order to live a more fulfilling life. She asks: "What MUST I do to be at peace with myself so that I may live presently and die gracefully?" Powerful stuff.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Your favorite fictional character.
I will always love all of Jim Henson's Muppets. They're so earnest and joyful. I'm going to steal the words from someone on the internet here, but we should all aspire to be like Kermit the Frog. "To have a creative vision and no ego. Recognize the unique talents of those around you. Attract weirdos. Manage chaos. Show kindness and be sincere."
Someone worth following on social media.
Joshua Vermillion—he crafts these beautiful generative-AI landscapes and sculptures. A lot of his work depicts the American Southwest, and it's a lovely addition to my feed.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
It feels really odd to write this, but my main strength is my compassion for others. Creatives do their best work when they feel supported and psychologically safe to express themselves. I try to always put myself in others' shoes, to see the challenge from their point of view. We can get in deeper with an insight/creative solution when we can empathize with others.
Your biggest weakness.
Wanting to make Every. Single. Idea. Better. Sometimes ideas need to be left behind, and that's OK. I need to get that tattooed on my forehead.
One thing that always makes you happy.
Sunlight dappling through the trees, sunshine with a grey sky against brilliant orange trees in the fall, sunrise...
One thing that always makes you sad.
How pigeons build nests. Look that one up. It's pathetic.
Something people would find surprising about you.
That for a very brief moment in time (before advertising) I was an archaeologist.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in health.
I'd probably be running a huge animal rescue farm somewhere—re-homing pets, rehabilitating wild creatures, feeding strays and helping pigeons build better nests.