Macmillan Cancer Care's Director of External Affairs Hilary Cross Talks About Oystercatchers

Macmillan Cancer Care's Director of External Affairs Hilary Cross Talks About Oystercatchers

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Hilary CrossHilary Cross: We needed Oystercatchers to help us and we were looking for a new agency, because it was a big deal for us at Macmillan to find somebody new – an advertising agency. We wanted somebody that was going to partner with us over a number of years, who was going to work really closely with us to get our message across. And it was essential that we went through and knew exactly what was out there in the marketplace, that we had a good range of people that we talked to, that we understood what motivated and drove them, that they understood us and that the process was absolutely in-depth and got us the right person at the end and we knew that Oystercatchers could help us do that.

Hilary Cross: We’ve worked with a number of agencies when we’ve been looking for an advertising agency before I think has been really exciting and has been fantastic working with Oystercatchers is the depth of detail that they have gone into working with us. You know, we’ve had fantastic briefs, we’ve had all the information we needed, we’ve had real experts on our side who have been able to give us the advice and support right the way through the whole process and that has just been fantastic. So I wouldn’t say that I am surprised because we wouldn’t have gone with them if we hadn’t thought that they could do that. But in fact the detail I think has been brilliant.

Hilary Cross: I think there are a few things that Oystercatchers did that we didn’t really expect. They have been very, very intimately involved with what we’ve been doing, I mean every step of the way – through the whole process they have been there, giving us all the information that we need. Every time we turn around and say “well, what about this person?” They’ve known about them, each of the individuals from a whole range of different agencies, they have been able to give that little bit of insight and that little bit of extra background on them, which has been incredibly helpful. So their knowledge of the advertising world I think has just been fantastic and has just been a bit extra, perhaps. So it’s not just knowing what is happening on the surface but actually behind the scenes they have known and that’s been very helpful.

Hilary Cross: The one thing that keeps me awake at night, and in fact there are lots of things that keep me awake at night like my work and agencies, but it’s absolutely finding the right person and the right agency they can deliver what is a big, complex ask. I mean, we are a big, complex charity; we’ve got big demands and trying to reach a range of different audiences with complex messages. I think the challenge for me has been finding how to simplify that, how to really, clearly and simply express what Macmillan needs, what Macmillan wants, how Macmillan can help people in a way that doesn’t turn people off, in a way that doesn’t alienate one of our audiences, in a way that is compelling and inspiring and trying to find that in a really simple way, which is what you want to do through advertising, is an enormous challenge. I can talk to people about Macmillan until I’m blue in the face, but sometimes it takes me about three hours to explain the depth of what we do; but  when I’ve only got 30 seconds I need someone to help me do that very clearly.

Hilary Cross: For me, success looks like when you have a partner, you have an advertising agency who is your partner who absolutely gets under your skin. You understand what motivates and drives them. They understand what your challenges are and what motivates you, and you end up with a partnership that absolutely delivers a proposition and advertising creative that really works and gets through to your audience, resonates with your audience, it moves them and makes them want to get involved with you. That is what success will look like for me.

Victoria Sinclair