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Meet the team: Antti Iiskola, Data-Driven Creative Director

Written by McCann Helsinki
May 25, 2021

Meet Antti – A Musician & Data-Driven Creative Director

How is it going? 

Busy, busy, busy. But I guess that’s a good thing. Means that there is work to be done and that’s always a happy thing. Also, spring is coming, the sun is shining, what’s not to like?! Oh yeah, the C-thingy. But I hear even that is slowing down, so all good, I’d say. 

What has been on your mind lately? 

Apart from modern country lyrics, 80’s rock guitar and retro games, you mean? Digital strategies, recruitments, contracts, all sorts of fun stuff. But also, concept ideation for multiple projects, content production and other creative things. And the C-thingy. 

What’s the most recent change in you?

It’s a mental change, I decided to focus on my health a little better in the future. So better sleep, better food, more exercise. Boring stuff, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. I’m not getting any younger anymore. Other than that, I’m trying to get back into the habit of reading actual books and magazines. After way too long of just audiobooks and podcasts, it’s a struggle, but I’m getting there. It’s not so much about the information or entertainment for me, those both I can get from elsewhere as well, but I consider reading a sort of meditation and I think it’s good for me to stop and concentrate on just one thing, even if it is for only a short while. 

What song/album/game/podcast (choose one) would you recommend to someone? 

Ooh, this is a tough one. I guess I’m only allowed to pick one, right? But I never play by the rules anyway. 🙂

Right now, I’d say that for a song that captures something visceral about life, you should listen to Brandy Clarks song Illegitimate Children. It’s an educational (country) tale. 

For those of us stuck in the 80s hard rock, try Europe’s (yes, THAT Europe) album from 2009, Last Look at Eden. It’s a great, great rock album – and it’s not on Spotify, but I’m sure you’ll find it. It shows great growth in songwriting and performance and has tons of great songs. 

For the retro minded, try the new Commodore 64 games. Yes, NEW. If you’ve ever played on a C64, you’ll love Sam’s Journey, Rocky Memphis – The Legend of Atlantis and Hessian. And check out all the rest of the games in the 2000’s, most of them are excellent. There’s still life in the old warhorse. 

For a podcast, listen to Renegades: Born In The USA on Spotify. It’s Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen talking about the United States of America. In addition of being extremely intelligent, these two men have such soothing voices. 😀 Although, I have to say, Springsteen’s sounds like he’s been screaming on the stage for 40+ years. Which, of course, he has!

What is your favourite place in the whole world? 

I don’t think there’s a single place, it’s more of a mental thing. There are places where that’s easier to get to, such as my family’s summer house, but it’s a state of mind. When I feel whole, when I feel at ease. It can happen anyplace, in New York, In Paris, in the Finnish Lapland or the forest, at riverside somewhere.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

I’ve been reading this book called A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It’s a little outdated (it came out in 2003 and the science has moved on from then), but there are many things in it that have been very interesting. Like the people who experimented on how much pressure can a human endure while diving. Or the guy who nearly killed himself testing out how much nitrogen a human can take before dying. The scientists of the 1800’s used to try stuff out on themselves, at least the brave ones. I just wonder how many didn’t finish their experiments because of expiring prematurely… Oh, and I learned that many people have died in the Yellowstone National Park by either falling or diving into the hot springs. And that that can happen by accident as well, a geyser can just explode under your feet without a warning! Luckily no such things in Finland. 

Who knows you the best?

That’s an interesting question, not necessarily one I can answer. My girlfriend knows me very well in most aspects, but not in all of them. 🙂 My children the same, although different aspects. And there there are my great friends who know another side of me. And of course my parents and my brothers who’ve grown up with me. I don’t think anyone knows me better than anyone else, they each know a piece of me the others don’t. 

What would you like remembered about you?

My music. Not that it’s probably going to happen, but that would be nice. Apart from that, I’d like to be remembered as a good person, who didn’t suffer fools gladly and was always honest.

What is your motto?

Only dead fish go with the flow.

If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, in what other profession you could see yourself in? 

I’d love to be a musician. I do perform and play and sing and write songs, and people even pay me to perform, but I made a decision long ago not to pursue the music career, as there was more and safer money in the other things I liked, like digital marketing. But if I didn’t have to support a family, I’d probably travel around the world with my guitar. 🙂

Your title is Data-driven Creative Director – what do you tell your relatives you do for work? 

 I tell them I make ads. 

What do you like about your job? 

The creativity, the fun, the challenges, the people. 

How do you see the year 2021?

Bright, at least right now. I have a lot faith in our healthcare, we’re going to beat this thing. And I also have faith in us, we’re going to do great things together in 2021. 

What do you think is the most interesting thing happening in marcomms/our field/the world (choose one) now? 

It’s not that sexy, but I think the rise of people wanting privacy has been interesting. The fact that all the browsers are now ceasing to track individual people and the 3rd party cookies are being blocked is an interesting turn of events. I’m sure there will be many replacements for the tracking done before, but I think it’s healthy to move away from hyper-targeted marketing and give more power to the creatives, once again. A good, creative ad doesn’t need to be hyper-targeted in order for it to work. We can still utilize data in creative marketing, we just don’t have to do it so that people need to be concerned about their privacy. 

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