Describing himself as “just a geek who’s excited about the potential of joined-together computers to do strange and interesting things”, Iain Tait is a veteran of the digital marketing and design world. In his early career he worked at companies including Syzygy, First Tuesday, and Oven Digital, and also designed very early websites for a number of Edinburgh Festivals – “when you didn’t need to know how to design properly or build very well,” he says.
Tait was one of the founders and creative directors of Poke, spending over eight years with the company before moving to Wieden + Kennedy Portland in 2010. As Global Interactive ECD, he worked across a number of clients there but is most recognised for the hugely popular Old Spice Responses campaign, which saw the ‘Old Spice Guy’ – actor Isaiah Mustafa – post personal video responses to fans’ comments on social media channels. The quick turnaround of the films – they were scripted, filmed and posted in days – demonstrated how brave brands could interact with their audiences in a fresh way online.
BELOW: The Isaiah Mustafa Old Spice commercial
In 2012, Tait moved to Google Creative Lab in New York. While there he was part of the team that launched the Chromebook globally, created a series of Chrome Experiments, and brought Google’s first accessories line into the world, amongst other projects. Last year he returned to Wieden + Kennedy, this time to the London office, where he is now ECD and says he “spends the majority of this time trying to do things that let talented people do far better work than he’s capable of”.
BELOW: A film from the series of Chrome Experiments by W+K
Most recently, this has seen Tait introduce an initiative at the London office where staff are asked not to email in the evenings, and also limit meeting times, with the intention of giving the creative brains at the agency some time off. “We are in a business that’s almost entirely about brain work,” he wrote in an article for CR on the subject. “So we need to make sure that we’re protecting people’s minds…. Our changes are meant to show that we trust our people to the bosses of their own brain-time and brain-space. And we’re removing practices that allow others to trample over them.”