Brew and a biscuit with…Phil Ireland

Charlotte McIntosh, Marketing Manager at MerchantCantos sat down for a virtual cup of tea with Phil Ireland, Partner and CCO to discuss international collaboration and filming in the skies.

You can read a couple of snippets from the interview below or, listen to the full podcast here.

CM: How long have you been at MC now?

PI: I joined in January, so the time has just evaporated. I was here for 3 months before shutdown but its been wonderful being part of this group during a very challenging time, as I think the group has handled it incredibly well. I was very impressed by the energy and the enthusiasm that people used to solve any problems. Its been the most phenomenal leveller, and its incredibly humbling to see people come together and the sense of social cohesion it has brought was one of the highlights of the year for me. We are an agency that works on a lot of important issues for clients and its heighten the importance of every one of those issues.

CM: What do you think it is that makes MC so unique?

PI: To start, I would say MC is unique. MC is unique in what it does, there are companies that do bits of what we do but there is no one that does everything we do. That is our base, and then add all the interesting people inside and the way they do things and we have a uniqueness multiplier.

CM: How did you start out?

PI: I started out studying law but I was looking for something where I could express myself a bit more, and the creative arts were the way to go.

CM: With us, not all being in a room together, how do you think that is effecting creativity?

PI: It affects people differently. Some people have said their creative output has been given the space, the quiet, and the calm. Other have said it’s a disaster - there are a lot of different dynamics and it affects everyone differently. One thing I can attest to is the fact that everyone has developed a new suite of skills in terms of working remotely. One of the biggest force multipliers we have is our global network, to be able to engage with them, for example on a call with the NY team, its as if we are all in the same room and that’s been the biggest behaviour change, the way we engage with our far-flung geographies.

CM: One project we recently launched was working with Textron, can you tell us more about that?

PI: It was a massive shoot and a really profound piece of work to deliver logistically. Even if we had been doing it under very normal circumstances, without the global pandemic it would have been challenging. The DOP had to film a fleet of jets in the sky, and you have to be able to keep up with a jet, which is why we needed a jet to shoot another jet. The team we worked with does a substantial amount of feature work and had just come off working on a Disney nature film doing all the aerial work for them, the shooting platform is an ex-military jet with a gyroscopic camera mount on the nose. It allowed us to shoot the planes in a really unconventional way and we got some incredible footage in the sky and that’s because we worked with absolute specialists.

Listen to the full podcast here:

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