Getting Brainy with Jules Hall, Founder/ CEO of The Hallway

We recently sat down with Jules Hall, CEO and Founder of advertising agency, The Hallway, to discuss digital advertising, upcoming trends and challenges in the industry. Find out what Jules has to say about moving consumers with Affective Ideas, the importance of personalisation in advertising, and his favourite ad campaign.

Tell us about The Hallway. What do you do and how do you do it?

We create and grow brands that people are glad to have in their lives. Blending creativity and commerce, we are obsessed with delivering commercial growth for our clients, which is why we are a thriving independently-owned company, founded way back in 2007.

The Hallway is a full service advertising agency. What does this mean going into 2022?

As media digitises, the data signals grow exponentially. That fundamentally influences the way we work. But it doesn’t change the essence of what we do – growing business through creativity that moves people. This is what we call Affective Ideas. 

The Hallway was a very early adopter of data-driven creativity. We learned how to build a culture that put creativity and data on the same pedestal. That impacted the way we worked, and the assets we created, which can get distracting because there is more complexity. But we’ve always known the data is not an end in itself. It’s an enabler we can choose to embrace. 

Our core business is, and always will be, creativity – generating ideas that create magical human connections. Because that is the only way to make a brand stand out in the cluttered, busy, distracted world we all live in. 

What will be the biggest challenges facing the advertising industry over the next few years?

The digital transformation of the advertising industry continues to be the primary driver of change. 

At an agency level the naughties were the decade that spawned mass specialisation – businesses focused on niche offerings. Which worked until clients realised they had an unmanageable agency roster, and increasingly fragmented brand experiences.

The teens were all about data and personalisation – how could we hyper target to maximise efficiency? Which worked until consumers called time on the horrendous privacy breaches and utterly forgettable ads that started to dominate our media landscape.

But whilst all that was happening there was a group of researchers, largely in the UK, going back to basics to understand the formula for effective advertising. And it was all refreshingly simple; Famous brands grow faster. And the way to build brand fame is through brilliant advertising. 

Largely because of these findings we are in the midst of the biggest creative renaissance our industry has ever been through. The pendulum has swung back in favour of building enduring brands. This time, using techniques built on proven evidence.

In your experience, what are the key factors that drive memorable and effective campaigns?

The most successful advertising campaigns have an alarmingly simple thread of consistency – they entertain you. There are all sorts of ways they deliver that entertainment, from schadenfreude to awe. It’s always built on deep human insight and cultural empathy. Delivered through impactful media channels.

What role does native and personalised advertising have in the next evolution of marketing?

There’s a continuing role for native and personalised advertising, leveraging relevance to maximise conversion. But it will always work better when it sits alongside a strong brand, and has the support of creative advertising. 

Which channels should advertisers be looking at to find new audiences?

Is it new audiences that brands are looking for, or better ways of connecting with existing audiences? I’d encourage brands to familiarise themselves with Karen Nelson-Fields work around Attention Metrics. It will influence the way you think about the different media channels.

Recommend us your favourite podcast.

Charles Day’s Fearless podcast has some excellent interviews with the world’s top creative leaders. Definitely worth a listen.

Recommend us a good book.

Captains Courageous, Rudyard Kipling.

Recommend us a good news publication.

Perhaps a little unexpected, but Mamamia’s The Quicky is gold! Gives you the headlines and goes deep on one topic a day. All in 20 mins. Love it.

Recommend us a groundbreaking ad campaign that stands out for you.

I’ll pump our own tyres with this one. The campaign The Hallway launched in November 2021, Boys Do Cry, in partnership with Gotcha4Life is the most important piece of work we’ve ever done. It took three years to make it happen, collaborating with Robert Smith and The Cure to re-write and re-record their classic hit to encourage blokes to talk when the going gets tough. All in a bid to help address the terrifying fact that seven Aussie blokes take their own lives, every day.

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