Matt Dunn Talks Art Direction of Amazon Music’s Christmas Ad and How Graffiti Condoms Changed His Life

The London-based art director has already racked up an impressive CV since graduating from illustration in 2014. After cutting his teeth working as a graphic designer at a law firm, Matt has since worked with Wieden + Kennedy London, Mother London and Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Besides high profile clients like Amazon, he has also worked on campaigns for Kraft Heinz, Specialized and Xfinity. And to top it off, he was also a D&AD Awards judge and Masterclass speaker.

Now working at Droga5 London, one of his most recent projects saw him work across a range of creative disciplines as he ran Amazon Music’s Christmas advertising. To learn more about this amazing campaign and find out how drawing graffiti condoms led to the job he dreamed of doing, we caught up with Matt about his impressive career so far.

For those who don’t know everything, what is an art director and what does he do?

Art directors are visual storytellers. They have an eye for design and they have a vision for the overall look of a project or campaign. That’s why you’ll usually find people in this role who have a background in the visual arts, like illustration, graphic design, and more.

In the advertising industry, art directors work as a team with a copywriter, and we come up with creative solutions to a brief, which we present to the creative directors before it’s presented to a client. After that, that’s where the business begins, and the magic happens.

You started out as a designer in a law firm? How was it?

Starting out as a designer in a law firm is by no means a perfect starting point. But that was a starting point, and that’s where I found myself after graduating with an illustration degree in 2014.

There is still something to learn in workplaces where you might not fit in. And the biggest learning curve for me during that time was that it showed me the kind of work that I didn’t want to put out into the world.

How did you then find a job in advertising?

It was a giant leap for me at the time, as I had two one-month internship offers after leaving my full-time job with the law firm. Quite a risk, but I followed my instincts, and it was during my second internship that I was offered a position, following a successful pitch for a new company.

Soon after, I started exploring the idea of ​​a secondary hustle. A concept that eventually became a hugely popular campaign for the NHS.

The idea was to cover existing graffiti penises with spray-painted condoms to raise awareness of the risks associated with unprotected sex. The campaign was covered around the world, in a list of national and international press, such as Vice, Buzzfeed, Men’s Health, The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Mashable, Bored Panda, The Independent and more.

It opened doors for me in other advertising agencies like Wieden+Kennedy and Mother London. Since then I have had the good fortune to meet and work with some lovely and talented people in some of the UK and US advertising agencies.

Before Droga5 London, you were in San Francisco. tell us more

Before the lovely David Kolbusz and Shelley Smoler introduced me to Droga5 London (where I currently work), I worked at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, California for a few years.

It was great working closely with Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby on high profile campaigns for Specialized Bikes and Kraft Heinz.

It was also an eye-opening experience to learn about West Coast culture in America. Even though San Francisco looks quite large in photos, it’s quite small in person, with different pockets of culture on every corner, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. A good thing because the places are a stone’s throw away and a bad thing because there isn’t much inspiration you can draw from until you’ve already seen all it has to offer. .

What lessons have you brought from Goodby Silverstein & Partners to Droga5?

I had the good fortune to work with Wes Phelan and Matt Edwards at Goodby Silverstein & Partners. These guys were great. They taught me a lot, but one lesson, among many others, was this: “Right decision. Wrong decision. No decision. Making a bad decision is better than not making a decision. Of course, we aim all a good decision, but be at peace with the fact that a bad decision takes courage. No decision, on the other hand, means late nights and a lot of unnecessary rotations. Believe in yourself and your decisions and others will too .

There will be times when things don’t go as planned, but losing or failing is not a setback. It means you have the opportunity to become a better version of yourself.

The word “hustle” has gotten a bad rap lately. But do you think hard work pays off?

Personally, I think spending time on anything will always pay off. Giving yourself a long-term plan for the trip you want to take and sticking to it, knowing that most of the time things won’t happen overnight, but over time things will get better .

There will be times when things don’t go as planned, but losing or failing is not a setback. This means you have the opportunity to become a better version of yourself, learn any specific weaknesses you might have, and then realize that you can turn them into your strengths. Now, that’s not to say you won’t encounter another difficult time later, but next time you’ll be better prepared when you encounter that opportunity again.

There is always a dose of luck, right?

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” – this quote from the Roman philosopher Seneca should remind people that we will always make our own luck. The difference between lucky and unlucky people, we have all seen it before, is all in our perspective. Change your point of view. Change your “luck”. So, no, there is no dose of luck – just a prep meeting opportunity.

How did it work on Amazon Music’s global Christmas ad?

It was fantastic to be part of such a monumental labor of love from such incredibly talented people like David Kolbusz, Dave Wigglesworth, Ed Redgrave, Jules Hunt, Tom Elias, Callum Raines, Heather Cuss, D5 Design, D5 Tokyo , Blink Ink Directors Stevie Gee & Essy May and many more.

Everyone involved in the global campaign were all masters at their craft, who elevated it beyond what I thought was possible in the time we had.

What advice would you give to others wishing to become an artistic director?

Be kind, trust your instincts, soak up as much culture and inspiration as possible, and always keep trying. You have this.

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