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The Work That Made Me: Darren Groucutt

Digital creative director at The Marketing Store, Darren looks back at how Blade Runner, Tron and the Olympic Games shaped him

The Work That Made Me: Darren Groucutt

Darren is a multi-award winning Digital Creative who has worked with some of the biggest brands in music, sports, automotive and FMCG. Prior to joining The Marketing Store, he spent four years working with Mercedes-Benz and before that, led the direction of digital film and animation content for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.


The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me… 

I’m from a family with a big musical background. Especially my brother, who is eight years my senior.  

This meant that I was lucky enough to be exposed to great music from a very young age. Some of my earliest music memories include watching the videos for The Jam, Going Underground and Blondie, Rapture. Many of these videos continue to inspire me, but if I had to name one film I always return to from my childhood, it would be this documentary from 1985 about the making of the first Sting album. 

Not only is some time spent in the studio (much of the album was recorded in this insane mansion) but there are some amazing players featured and getting a feel for their process is just fantastic. 

 

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry… 

None of the above. It was actually a film...Blade Runner.  

My older brother babysat for me a lot when I was younger, so I was always watching films intended for older kids (and developed a massive Star Wars fascination as a result.) But then came Blade Runner, and wow, I was in love.  

Syd Mead’s iconic design, the VFX, the totally out of this world plotline...so much inspiration. Blade Runner was also the film that first introduced me to the graphic artist Moebius, who’s work I’ve loved ever since.  

 

The creative work (film/album/game/ad/album/book/poem etc) that I keep revisiting… 

Blade Runner or Tron.  

Blade Runner is still one of my go-to references when it comes to the creative process. Although these days I watch ‘Dangerous Days’ the three-and-a-half hour ‘making of’ documentary more than the actual film. 


My first professional project… 

My first professional job was at a web design company in Birmingham in 1998. 

We were lucky enough to have Wet Wet Wet as a client, so my first project was the design of their website! 


The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*… 

I wouldn’t say it makes me angry, but to this day I still question how ‘kid rock’ became such a popular genre in the early noughties. That whole new metal vibe—Nickelback, Papa Roach etc—was just awful. 

 

The piece of work (ad/music video/ platform…) that still makes me jealous… 

There are a lot of animation/VFX houses I admire, but the portfolio of work Michael Gondry created for The White Stripes is in my opinion, outstanding, and something I still reference regularly in my work.  


The creative project that changed my career… 

I worked for digital media giant Crystal CG back when they were the digital service provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.  

We were in charge of all architectural visualisation for the games, the ceremonies, global broadcaster content and sports presentations.  

Having been brought up on animation, directing the mascots in this film was a dream job: 

And see if you can spot the Tron references in this one from the Velodrome: 


I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

I was involved in this pop promo for Cliff Richard. I was expecting a very wholesome ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ scenario but that wasn’t the situation. After a director change the project went more than a little off track.  

Here are Ricky Gervais’s thoughts on it... 

 

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most… 

Coming to The Marketing Store was the best move I have made in my career to date. I love being part of a truly global agency, the people, the culture and the amazing client base. I’d always wanted to work with McDonalds and especially adidas, having worn and admired the brand for years. 

As a big football fan, I loved working on these retail activations for the recent launch of the new predator boot. We were able to leverage some serious internal talents and cutting-edge tech to really push our concepts to the limit. 


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