A Week in My Life: Ben Ducker, Creative Director and co-founder of Rascal

Josh Peachey's picture

Rascal is a performance creative agency, combining bold creative thinking with a results driven focus for effective advertising.

Ben Ducker, Creative Director and co-founder, takes us through a week in working life...

Monday

It’s 5:45am (6am if I’m lucky), Monday morning and I’m dragged from my bed by demands of my two girls, Phoebe 4 and Tallulah 2. They’re cute, they’re my world, but sh*t they’re difficult.

The chaos of the morning routine begins. Do I have a client meeting today? Should I look more sophisticated or style out the comfort of jeans and trainers in the name of being a ‘creative’ again? No time, kids need breakfast, dogs need walking, would be nice to even have some conversation with my wife, Kate, before rushing to work. 

I jump in the car and drive. It’s 45mins of headspace, I plan the day ahead, listen to a Podcast on film making and think of ideas for the latest brief.

Into the office. I get a coffee and croissant down me and jump straight into the weekly team meeting. A chance for everyone to align on the week’s projects.

This week’s agenda looks something like:

  • Post-production for HP films
  • Animation for Niko commercial
  • Kick off meeting with Sky Italy for online video project
  • Develop PPC plan and launch the new e-com website
  • Start Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pitch
  • Final phase for a whiskey brand pitch
  • Final phase of Kinder Bueno pitch
  • I’m going to need more coffee!

I brief the creative team on pitch development and thought starters, to get them going before jumping into a video call with our new Sky client based in Italy.

Rebecca, one of Rascal’s project managers kicks off the call. I take the client through my directors’ treatment. On this occasion, the client came to us with a clear strategy and insight, so we jumped straight into idea generation and bringing it to life in a visual treatment and supporting scripts.

Onto HP edit reviews. This is the third video project we are delivering for HP Asia on the launch of their new Elite Dragonfly laptop. While in Tokyo filming, we saw our DOOH animations play out repeatedly on the impressive Shibuya crossing.
Now we’re back in the UK, we’re into heavy CGI, creating the environments for our live action footage as part of the online advert that features influencers working in amazing places, like a rainforest treehouse.

The rest of the day is mostly spent with the creative team finishing the whiskey pitch. It’s a late finish but the work looks good.

Tuesday

After the same mad morning dash, I’m straight into a creative review with my team on the Ben & Jerry’s pitch. We kick the ideas around to see what feels strongest and pick 3 routes to develop.

I dedicate the day to this time limited pitch while the digital studio make final preparations to launch a new e-com website for a client.

Wednesday

This morning I drop my daughter at school. Working late means I take some time back for my family. I watch her sing in the morning assembly and she’s beaming I could make it.

Flexible working at Rascal is an important part of our culture. We expect our staff to be self-disciplined and motivated. They work late when they need to and take longer lunches or leave earlier if their workload permits. By putting them in charge of their own schedule and not clock counting we create an atmosphere of respect and responsibility.

I get into the office an hour later and jump straight into the edit with our animators. They’ve been working with a Belgian illustrator to create a charming animation. We work through the scenes, adding movement to characters and camera angles.

The day is finished working with the creative team on delivering our final Ben & Jerry’s pitch.

Thursday

There’s a 9am call with our HP client in Japan. Working with global clients often means our call times are limited to first thing or early eve. We talk them through the CGI comps for the various scenes in their next advert.

The bulk of the day is reviewing the creative for our Kinder Bueno pitch and working with the team to finalise the presentation of ideas and scripts.

That evening I attend the first of Gold Dust Dinners with Ryan, our Business Developer. It’s an event dedicated to raising the profile of creative excellence in the north of England. I’m passionate about this because there are so many great creatives in the north that flock to London because ‘that’s where the best agencies and briefs are’.

Sadly, this is true as I was once of them and worked in two of the best London agencies around for 10 years. But it’s also why I opened a Rascal office in Leeds. We’re on a mission to take the learnings of London agency structure and creative excellence and bring it to Leeds. We continue to prove that this can be done, delivering work for global markets via brands such as Unilever, Diageo and HP with northern value!

The evening was great and I’m already looking forward to the next one. Shout out to Lauren York for creating the event.

Friday

Just when you think it’s over, one more pitch sneaks its way into my desk. It’s for an exciting US tech brand. We can’t say no and so crack on...