Welcome to the thirty-second feature from The IdleCollective. This series spotlights men in the creative industries, taking a closer look at the work they do and uncovering the behind-the-scenes happenings of their creative spaces and the interesting stories that naturally come with them. IdleCollective advocates creativity and collaboration – as we believe what we do is just as important as what we wear whilst we’re doing it.
We joined Ollie Olanipekun, Founder and Creative Director of Superimpose Creative Agency, in his East London home to discuss his unique path into the industry, how he keeps digital connections positive and his unexpected venture into hot sauce creation, with the newly launched NO CHILL.
Ollie wears: The Idle Man Premium Heavyweight Loopback Sweatshirt, Grey
There are so many paths into the “Creative industries” so naturally we want to ask about yours – how did you get into what you do?
Me and my friends launched a website called BNTL back in 2010 that proved to be quite popular, it was a simple blog spot where we documented our interests, London youth culture captured from within basically. At that point I had no idea how important that exposure to brands, people and cultural shifts would be to my career. Then my first ‘real’ job was for a Trend Forecasting agency where I could add a bit of theory to my madness. I then worked for a whole host of agencies looking after Content Strategy which led me to Channel 4 who were doing some really exciting things at the time. After a few years there (and an EMMY win) I moved onto a big agency where I was allowed to sink my teeth into Adidas as a Creative. Superimpose followed a few years later.
What sparked the idea / pushed you to start your own creative agency?
Myself and Toby Evans (who stepped away from the business early last year) were both just really frustrated about the creative industry, I don’t think either of us ever found a place where we felt like we fitted in so we decided to create our own. At first it was just to do exciting work, work that we enjoyed but I always wanted to create something bigger, work that had real impact.
Ollie wears: The Idle Man Stripe T-shirt, Black/White,
What does a typical day (if there is such a thing) at superimpose look like for you?
We’re in such a fortunate position here at Superimpose where all briefs are completely different, from global activations to bonkers content ideas. So a typical day for me is usually hopping from creative briefing to creative briefing with a load of client calls chucked in the mix. I miss the days where I can sit in my seat and take my time to concept.
What is your biggest inspiration?
I’m inspired by everything around me constantly. My problem is, I have a crazy short attention span so I’m constantly looking to be stimulated. But currently I’m mostly inspired by the incredible team of creatives at Superimpose, we never stop sharing references from the weird to the wonderful.
Ollie wears: The Idle Man Classic Overhead Hoodie, Black.
Currently there are many conversations surrounding the reach of “information overload” via advertising and brand communications. As someone that is immersed in that world– what do you do to disconnect /switch off?
So this was something I had to take seriously a few years ago when the ‘echo chamber’ was at its peak. Getting away from your desk or computer is so important and we have to truly dedicate time to let our minds breath. I got into bird watching in a big way, not sure if it is just the being surrounded by nature but I get so much peace when I’m scanning the sky with my binoculars.
On the flip side of the same topic, how do you keep the connection positive?
I don’t think I’ve mastered this at all, I still find myself scrolling through Instagram like a zombie but, again, its about really being honest with yourself. What are you getting out of this engagement? Are you leaving inspired? Or jealous of the fake life someone is projecting?
Ollie wears: The Idle Man Classic Overhead Hoodie, Grey
You recently worked on the branding for LFW men’s – what was the inspiration behind the creative there?
We’ve been working with the British Fashion Council for a few seasons and the original positioning we offered was to find a creative that could house the incredible and diverse talent that London fashion has to offer. To really find a point of difference from NY, Paris or Milan. Oliver Dickson one of our designers has done a great job in setting it apart and it’s been great to see how our design approach has influenced a lot of the industry.
You guest lecture at UAL – can you tell us more about what you are doing there?
When we started Superimpose I knew it was my duty to do what I could to ensure the next generation had better access to the creative industries. I never knew the options within the creative industry when I was at school and I never saw anyone who looked like me during the early days of my career and that was problematic for me. With our UAL partnership we’ve tried to equip the students with the new tools they’ll need to break into an industry that’s going through its biggest ever transition. More youth, less dinosaurs.
As our cultural and digital landscape shape shifts, in your view, what does the future look like for brands if they want to remain relevant and connect with their audiences?
This is a question that keeps popping up and it’s an important one. Brands need to stop thinking that the "consumer" gives a s**t about them, they really really don’t. Our job as "marketeers" is to appeal to them, but the good brands understand that they need to add value and be very clear in their role in the consumers lives. I want to see more real empowerment for individuals and communities.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
"Know your worth! If you’re not embarrassed by your wage request then you’re not asking for enough", Semi serious and semi lolz but I live by it. This approach has also forced me to make ensure my work is best in class.
What's next for superimpose?
Short term we’ll be focusing on some exciting activities around our newly launched hot sauce NO CHILL! and long-term global domination and to create a new creative industry where way’s of working benefits everyone.
Hot sauce lover? Get your hands on a bottle of NO CHILL here.
Words: Gemma Ford | Photography: Jack Dallas-Chapman | Styling: Sophie Kelly