2 Minutes With … Imogen Tazzyman, ECD at McCann Manchester

On the British Army's 'This Is Belonging,' Sony 'Balls,' and faking it till you make it

Imogen Tazzyman began her career at McCann Manchester, working across clients including Aldi, Scholl and Durex, before heading down to McCann London. There, Imogen worked with brands such as Subway, Bisto and Mastercard before moving over to Karmarama to create some of the most awarded, talked about and effective work in the U.K. for the British Army and Confused.com.

Imogen came full circle a couple of years ago, returning to McCann Manchester as executive creative director, where she is responsible for clients including Matalan, Magnet, Smyths and Royal London.

We spent two minutes with Imogen to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.


Imogen, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Shaw, a very small town just outside Oldham. After 10 years in London, I now live in Bollington, a very small town just outside Macclesfield.

How you first realized you were creative.

My mum will tell you it was from a very early age. She often reminds me she couldn't replace the dining table until I left home because not a day went by that I wouldn't cover it in glitter glue and felt tip. (I graduated to scalpel marks and glue gun burns by college.)

A person you idolized creatively early on.

I grew up watching Tony Hart on TV. He made art-making feel so easy and accessible. He definitely inspired me to stay creative, and I now encourage my 3-year-old in the same way.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I used to be really quite shy, until someone told me the phrase "Fake it til you make it." I realized I could quite easily fake not being shy, until I wasn't shy—and by then, what's the difference? It changed who I am and to be honest gave me the confidence to get to where I am today.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

I am a die-hard Spice Girls fan.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I think the writing on Succession is some of the best on TV. Dialogue is so hard to write, and the way they bring the characters to life in that show is incredible.

Your favorite fictional character.

I'm now finding it impossible not to think about Succession, although all the characters are so wonderfully hateable. Craig is generally in my top three.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

Robert Mayhew, a comedian, makes daily sketches on TikTok about agency life. Brilliantly, depressingly spot on!

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

Remote working has been a game changer for our family. We see so much more of each other (and it allowed us to get a dog, though there have been times when I wouldn't say that's a bonus…!). Professionally, it's allowed me to recruit from across the country, which has had a huge effect on the makeup of our department.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on. 

Working on the recruitment campaign for the British Army will always bring back fond memories. It's just one of those accounts where the effect your work has is genuinely important. The results are everything. And the Army were an incredible client in terms of trusting us to get to those results in whichever way we saw fit.

Having My Voice Heard - This Is Belonging - Army Jobs
A recent project you're proud of.

We created Oscar, our spokesperson for Smyths Toys Superstores, a while ago—but until recently he'd only appeared in their advertising. Last year, he was signed by Sony Music and embarked upon his very own journey to stardom, along with some very popular music videos created by us. That was cool.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

I remember seeing Sony Balls when I was at uni, and that was the ad that made me find out an advertising career existed.

Sony Bravia | Balls
Someone else's work you admired lately.

I love what Ali Hanan is doing for the industry with Creative Equals. I had a place on their first Women in Leadership course, and I haven't looked back.

Your main strength as a creative person.

I'm never truly happy with anything, and I can't let anything go.

Your biggest weakness.

I'm never truly happy with anything, and I can't let anything go!

One thing that always makes you happy.

My son, Stanley. He's 3 and very funny.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Many, many tear-jerking videos on social media. Since becoming a parent, there is a whole side of TikTok I cannot watch.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

I'd quite like to be a lottery winner.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a senior broadcast journalism student at the University of Colorado Boulder and a contributor to Muse by Clio.

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