Jay Pond-Jones

Jay Pond-Jones has been a Creative Director at some of the world's best advertising agencies including – Mother, HHCL, BMB, and GGT. He was a Campaign magazine Face-To-Watch, a D&AD Executive Board member, a Film and Television Judge at Cannes Lions, and winner of many creative awards. His career highlights include designing the FCUK logo and co-creating the advertising campaign that kicked it all off.

Jay also works as a writer, producer and director in comedy and entertainment. He created the ground-breaking live television show Flipside TV for Channel 4, which was the forerunner to Gogglebox. He’s represented by United Agents, and is a member of BAFTA and The Royal Television Society.

It's quite unusual to have a successful career in both advertising and entertainment. Jay’s work includes radio, podcasting, social, live events, live-streaming and working with influencers. Now brands have moved more into content - these complimentary skills are very much in demand.

Here’s a Q&A that Jay did recently.

What was your very first job? What does it feel like to look back at it now?

In 1973, aged 16, I worked as a runner for a big artwork studio in London. My actual job title was trainee commercial artist, and I instantly became immersed in the work of the best advertising and design agencies around.

Back then, Soho was definitely London’s creative soul. Spending time there every day was my art school and life-lessons all rolled into one. Friday lunchtimes, were spent in a basement club on Wardour St that played the latest soul music imports from the US. Clubbing in your lunch hour – I think they should bring that back!

So to fully answer the question - I don’t look back. As Miles Davis said “If anybody wants to keep creating - they have to be about change”.

Please describe, in your own words, what your current job is and what work it entails.

I’ve actually got quite a few jobs. I work as a Creative Director for agencies and brands. I’ve also got my entertainment production companys - Colourful Content and Colour TV. We create and make formats for TV and online, plus radio shows and podcasts. Right now I’m producing a lot of live stand-up comedy shows. Plus, there’s always something going on with ColourBolt bikes. They are built bespoke, so the designs are continuously evolving.

How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery and which train of events brought you to where you are today?

Following on from my time as a runner, I trained as graphic designer at a studio that specialised in food packaging. The photographer Martin Brading asked me to put an ad together using one of his photographs for the original BOY store on the Kings Road. So my very first ad was published in David Bailey and Patrick Litchfield’s Ritz magazine. Suddenly, as a twenty year old, designing crisp packets wasn’t so interesting. Soon after that I got a break as a junior art director in an agency working on a fashion account. This quickly led to a proper ad agency creative career. I made my first TV show pilot when I was around 26 years old, so it was inevitable that I’d move towards entertainment at some point too.

In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how and where do you usually find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?

I like going out. Always have. Interesting stuff happens when you put yourself out there. Working in three different industries means I get to meet people from quite diverse backgrounds. And each of my roles brings something different – so I never get tired of what I’m doing. I’ll be working in an agency with a brand one day, directing some comedy the next, and then talking to a frame-builder about a bike. It keeps it interesting. Mostly I try to get my immediate work done as early in the morning as possible – so I’ve got more time to let my mind wander a bit during the day. I go to stand-up comedy shows a couple of nights a week. Working with people who I enjoy spending time with is the most important thing to me. I know it’s obvious, but what’s the point otherwise?

If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, especially for the creative work and innovation it required rather than its recognition or industry success, what would it be?

I have to say FCUK. It didn’t win anything as far as I can remember.