2 Minutes With ... Brett O'Connor, Founder of VCCP Health
Brett O'Connor is no stranger to award shows, having been jury president and a jury member for top organizations including the Clios, Cannes Lions Health, London International Awards, the One Show, and Eurobest Awards. He welcomes their bar-raising impact on the industry and the ambition and support they offer young creatives.
His own career started in consumer advertising, before he entered the world of healthcare. Brett's proudest professional achievement is founding VCCP Health 15 years ago and leading the small London agency to become one of the highest awarded healthcare agencies in Europe.
Great lines aren't just for advertising though—Brett runs his own fly-fishing business and co-manages fly-fishing magazine FlyCulture. His passion for fishing is evident in the names of his other great loves, his children Finn and Brook. When he’s not working, you'll find Brett with these two and his wife Holly, enjoying English country life.
We spent two minutes with Brett to learn more about his background, creative inspirations and some recent work he's admired.
Brett, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I was born in Birmingham, England, it's the middle bit of the country. Luckily, I can now reference the TV show Peaky Blinders as it's literally based on my doorstep. And yes, I still have the accent, which gets stronger every time I visit. Today though, and after 20+ years of London living, I now live in the Hampshire countryside and commute daily into London.
How you first got interested in health.
Having spent the first half of my career in consumer advertising, I saw there was a big opportunity to make an impact in the world of health. I loved the idea of possibly helping people too. It was my best professional decision and I've never looked back.
One of your favorite projects you’ve ever worked on.
"Hairspray," a film we made with Teva. It was great to hear how, as a pharma company, Teva wanted to shine a light on carers looking after the ones they love. As we researched the project it was so moving to see the lengths people went to, to deliver that care. They were the inspiration.
A recent project you're proud of.
Teva was so happy with "Hairspray," they wanted to make another film two years later for "sandwich carers." Those who not only look after their parents, but also their husbands, wives, or children, and in most cases while having a job too. The challenge was to show their busy lives, but not imply the people they cared for were a burden. Our film managed to celebrate the moments that make being a carer so worthwhile.
One thing about how health is evolving that you're excited about.
Technology. I'm excited about the way tech can greatly improve people's lives. We're seeing many examples of innovative ways in which the patient quality of life has been changed dramatically. I love that.
Someone else's work, in health or beyond, that you admired lately.
Eyedar. It helps the blind visualize the world around them using echolocation through a phone app. So simple, yet life-changing.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
I could easily say Peaky Blinders here but that would be my Brummie bias. So I'll opt for Top Gun: Maverick. I know it's cheesy, but I just can't stop watching it. "It's not the plane, it's the pilot." Surely there's a link to what we creatives do there.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Marvin Gaye. What a voice, what a life.
Your favorite fictional character.
Rocky Balboa. I love his determination and fight against all the odds.
Someone worth following in social media.
Mylothecat. Brings together my old school taste in music and nostalgic cartoons from my childhood. What's not to love?
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
Believing good ideas can come from anyone in your agency.
Your biggest weakness.
Possibly my sense of humor. My team might agree.
One thing that always makes you happy.
Making my children laugh.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Polluting the planet. The devastation on our seas, rivers and the impact it's having on our wildlife.
Something people would find surprising about you.
I'm a highly qualified fly fishing instructor and guide.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in health.
A fishing guide. Catching fish all around the world. One day.
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.