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Fresh new faces at Chemistry

28 May 2020 Article by Amelia Petrovich


What do a Molecular Medicine phD candidate, a double Bachelor of Art/Science graduate, and an ex-social agency whizz have in common? Well, when they’re Ethan Lowry, Theo Larmer-Cottle and Craig Harrison, it turns out that a shared workplace and wicked senses of humour are just the tip of the iceberg!

We sat down with our three newest Chemistry recruits to find out what makes them tick in the agency and beyond – here’s what they had to say, podcasts, banter and all!

What initially attracted you to Chemistry?

Craig: I’d heard about Chemistry before coming on board and the biggest thing that appealed to me was the culture of collaboration. Also when I read that one of Chemistry’s core values was that ‘we’ve got each other’s back’ I was like ‘shit yeah, these guys get it’.

Ethan: The name, for sure. I studied biomedical engineering and molecular medicine at uni and chemistry (the actual science of atoms and reactions) was a pretty central focus. So yeah, from the start, I was very interested in learning more about these folks.

Theo: My dad! Just kidding. I knew that there were some pretty exceptional people who worked at Chemistry – and I knew that coming here would be a great chance to learn. Thankfully, it has been so far.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Chemistry?

Ethan: Hands down, the people I work with. The Chemistry team and our clients have to be the nicest people on the planet.

Theo: I really enjoy the banter. People are pretty ruthless around these parts (the trick is to never show weakness until no one can see you and then let it all out.)

Craig: Trudy’s cornbread! The lack of ego stroking needed to get stuff done is a big bonus too.

What excites you the most about working in marketing and advertising?

Ethan: I really like puzzles. Not like actual puzzles though – more the logistical kind. If logistical puzzles were an actual puzzle, all pieces would be made of Jell-O and the box would say there’s 500 pieces but there’s actually 1200 and the final product is a 3D sculpture instead of a flat picture. In less words… orchestrating goals and strategy into an epic output that moves people.

Theo: I like that advertising and marketing have the power to colour any purpose with a range of shades. I can think of so many campaigns I’ve seen and engaged with that made me feel such a specific feeling – but a different set of minds might have had an equally successful campaign that took a completely different angle.

If you weren’t a Chemistry suit extraordinaire, what would your dream job be?

Ethan: I’d totally take my side gig of wedding photography full-time. Always a good vibe, creative freedom, and no proper pants required.

Theo: I reckon I’d love to be either an archaeologist, historian, or an operator on a marine research vessel. I’d love to have the opportunity to go scuba diving all the time.

Craig: I’ve thought about this long and hard in the past and I’d have to say being an NBA Superstar would be it – probably a small forward or power forward with the ball skills of a point guard. The classic Kiwi dream of being an All Black is close too.

What are some of your favourite brands from around the world and why do you love them?

Craig: Even though I’m more of an Adidas guy, I have to say Nike’s campaigns of late have been epic. The risk they took by backing Colin Kaepernick in the ‘Dream Crazy’ campaign was hugely controversial. Also, their support of female athletes and sports and their latest ‘Play For the World’ campaign based around Covid are just so damn good.

Theo: There are quite a lot of video game studios who are doing a fantastic job at the moment. The gaming industry is having a bit of trouble with some standardised business practices that aren’t going over too well with the consumer, but CD Projekt Red (Poland) have done an amazing job leveraging the animosity towards these practices in order to further their brand and increase brand love. You couldn’t think of a more revered studio than CDPR!

Ethan: My newest favourite brand is Sheep Inc., the self-reported first carbon negative fashion brand in the world. I love their extremely simple product line (two sweaters, a few sizes, and a few colours) and the way they have developed their quirky visual presence and voice around their story.

What makes a good campaign great, in your opinion?

Craig: Obviously originality is a big one. I also think that it’s really important to strike an emotional chord with your audience that pulls from your key insight.

Ethan: Firstly, central purpose (‘why should I care?’), emotional hook (‘how does this make me feel?’), and then also action (‘what can I do about this?’)

Theo: Teamwork. I think if you have perfect harmony between your creatives, studio and suits – then you are bound to come out right in the end.

What makes a killer collaborative team?

Theo: Weapons I guess? But actually I think it’s probably being able to say no to ideas that aren’t quite good enough, whilst being able to build on them to get somewhere better. I don’t think that any ideas are ever necessarily bad – it’s about taking all the crumbs and making them into a cookie.

Ethan: Hmm, can I be absolutely ridiculously corny right now? If the answer is ‘yes’, then I reckon the best thing you can do to promote collaboration is to listen and stretch your brain outside of your role to understand the challenges and limitations of everyone on the team. A healthy bit of perspective goes a loooong way.

Craig: Going back to something I mentioned earlier, I think checking your ego at the door is key. I’m also a massive believer that good thoughts and ideas can come from anywhere, whether that’s strategically or creatively, so the ability to take on board and consider other points of view is really important.

What’s the weirdest thing about you (that you’re willing to share)?

Craig: I’m the commissioner of a 12-person NFL (American Football) Fantasy League which runs from September to January. Basically you have a draft where you select players who score points based on the real games, and then find an eventual grand final winner. We have a WhatsApp channel get together in person every year too to do the draft and have a yarn.

Ethan: I have 14 toes. Jokes, I only have 11. To be totally honest, I don’t think I’m very weird, but my sense of humour is definitely a bit wonky.

Flat white or long black?

Ethan: It depends on the time and day. 6:30am Monday? Long black, 1000%. 11:00am on Saturday? Flat white.

Craig: Flat white. But my milk content is gradually reducing!

Theo: I don’t drink coffee I prefer to just chew beans for a while until I feel a buzz.

Got any great podcast recommendations for us?

Craig: For work the Digiday Podcast is great. The host doesn’t take crappy, stock-standard answers about reach, but gets his guests to dig deeper into the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’. The Bill Simmons Podcast is epic too. It’s an intersection of sports, media and culture. They recently did some wrap ups and commentary of the Michael Jordan doco ‘The Last Dance’ to give a bit of extra perspective which was awesome.

Ethan: I’m a podcast FIEND. I love podcasts that make my life feel extremely mundane, so I have a sweet line up of crime and conspiracy podcasts. When those run dry, I’ll go to my secondary list, which is a bit more educational.

Ethan’s ‘sweet line up of crime and conspiracy’ podcasts:

  1. Alien Theorists Theorising
  2. Criminal
  3. This is Actually Happening
  4. Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know
  5. Lore

Ethan’s ‘bit more educational’ podcasts:

  1. Cosmic Vertigo
  2. All in the Mind
  3. Ear Hustle
  4. How I Built This
  5. Stuff You Should Know