2 Minutes With … Jon Chapman, ECD at the Leith Agency

On 'Canvases of Care,' the 'Meningitis Flag' and the accessibility of information

With over 17 years of experience in healthcare and consumer advertising, Jon is currently executive creative director at the Leith Agency. He previously worked for BBDO and Havas Lynx Group.

We spent two minutes with Jon to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Jon, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in a small but very lively city called Newcastle in the North East of England, which makes me a Geordie. I now live in a small village in the countryside in the North West of England, where some people still howl at the moon.

How you first got interested in health.

Once I realized I could think of ideas for a good cause instead of just selling stuff, that was pretty much it. Bye bye jingles for microwave pizza. Hello songs about incontinence. 

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

An awareness film called "Change The Face of HIV" tops the list because it was such a sensitive subject to tackle—taboo, stigma, misconception, etc. We shot it with RSA Films in London, and director Jamie Delaney took it to another level. Jamie's ace. It helped change policy for access to HIV tests within primary care.

A recent project you're proud of.

I recently worked with GE Healthcare to pay tribute to nurses across the U.S. for National Nurses Week. We created "Canvases of Care," in which we painted portraits of nurses using the amount of brushstrokes based on the hours they've worked so far in their careers. The portraits remain unfinished, as a nurse's work is never done. There's also a project at Leith that the guys started before I joined called the "Meningitis Flag," for Sanofi. Which is a huge effort moving into its second stage ahead of the Paris Olympics next year.

One thing about how health is evolving that you're excited about.

How accessible and understandable information is related to a person's well-being. This surely has to be as important as the treatment itself. Access routes to care and medicine can be daunting and unnecessarily complex. Anything that eases that for people through tech, creativity or community is a crucial step forward.

Someone else's work, in health or beyond, that you admired lately.

A project from Adam&EveDDB in London called "The Last Photo" is heartbreakingly brilliantly simple and so impactful.

And this music video from Divisions for Pharrell's "Cash In Cash Out" track, directed by François Rousselet, is outrageously good:

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

I'm reading The Big Sleep for the first time. It's so good. The fact that Raymond Chandler didn't write a novel until he was in his 40s is pretty inspiring to me.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Nine Inch Nails. Everything they do is top notch—studio albums, live shows, the soundtrack work. It's all incredible. My teenage self is still alive and kicking and screaming.

Your favorite fictional character.

At the moment, Philip Marlowe. Or Jeff's wife Susie from Curb Your Enthusiasm. No one in the history of film and TV curses better than she does.

Someone worth following on social media.

All The Right Movies is an X (formerly Twitter) account that does long threads about the stories behind some of the most iconic movies and scenes—endlessly interesting if you love film.

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

Believing there's always another idea. You could call it resilience. Or stupidity, depending on which day it is.

Your biggest weakness.

Chasing an idea well beyond its sell-by date. Then still trying to sell it.

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

I'd really like to be a carpenter. Or a stuntman.

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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