Ben Priest, Co-Founder and Executive Creative Director of the award-winning advertising agency Adam & Eve DDB London, is best known for the work he does with Fosters and the legendary John Lewis Christmas ads. Ben’s ads have enjoyed more column inches than most A List celebrities and he's gone and done it again with the latest John Lewis Christmas ad featuring Monty the Penguin.
As a busy advertising executive, Ben travels regularly to shoot his ground-breaking ads. Here’s how he does it.
How important is travel to you?
I travel probably not as much as I used to but a lot further than I used to so I go to Australia a number of times a year, which is a true test of your travelling stamina. It doesn’t get any more intense than that. Most of the best ads we have filmed have been overseas, so you could say that travel is extremely important to me.
What is your luxury travel item?
I travel with two luxury items, although neither of them is particularly luxurious. I always travel with a book. Travel has a habit of becoming unhinged, delayed and generally difficult. If I can slip into a book it helps me remain calm. The other luxury item is Champagne, I seldom drink it but as soon as I travel, for some reason, Champagne becomes my beverage of choice!
What’s your method of coping with jet lag?
I’ve discovered a strange own brand sleeping pill that if you take just half of it, it doesn’t give you that strange foggy head the next day but my advice for anyone coping with jet lag is “sleep whenever you can”. I’m not a believer in ‘the time is this in Hong Kong so if I sleep now and don’t sleep …’ I think you should take sleep wherever it’s offered and available to you.
What is your favourite place?
I went to Mumbai once and stayed at the Taj Mahal Hotel. That was pretty amazing as Mumbai is so crazy and so frantic and then there is this extraordinary, beautiful oasis with gardens and a pool which is just incredible. Also the Capri Palace in Capri is pretty hard to beat for different reasons but both are lovely.
What is your favourite mode of transport?
I love flying, I hate short haul but long haul flying I really enjoy. You have to turn your phone off, it’s a cinema, it’s a bed and it’s a restaurant - which are probably three of my favourite hobbies so yeah, I really enjoy it. And you have to give yourself to it. You can’t fight it, forget about how long it’s going to be and make the most of it and enjoy it. I’m someone who doesn’t mind an 8, 9, 10 hour flight.
What is your top travel tip?
Always try to get someone else to pay and go first class. Either that or try to sleep whenever you can but I suspect the former would be more useful.
If you forget to pack it what do you miss the most?
I always take two fairly mundane items with me when I travel – lip salve which is the thing that I would feel very uncomfortable about, almost like my passport missing and I have a strange, bright orange Moshi Monster which my daughters gave me. The first time I ever went to Australia they said take this with you and it will remind you of us and I have carried it in my pocket ever since wherever I go. I would feel almost naked without this. I get very odd looks when I’m going through the metal detectors – phone, keys, and then a bright orange Moshi Monster…..which I actually have in my pocket now but I won’t show you.
Who is the most interesting person you have sat next to on a plane?
That’s interesting - I don’t do a huge amount of interaction with people either side of me. I guess, actually, I’ve had some great flights with people that I work with, it’s a chance to sit and have a meal or a drink and spend time with and chat about stuff that you don’t get time to in the office.
There are some great people here that I have spent time with travelling and got to know them better and had fun. Also you find out more about them so I guess people from work rather than say ‘I sat down with Michael Jordan’.
What’s the best airport lounge?
The best airport lounge, bar none, fact and unarguable is the Virgin Atlantic lounge at Heathrow. It is almost a shame to have to leave and get on the plane.
What do you look for in your luggage?
This is really obvious but something that looks well designed and looks well put together. A lot of luggage looks cheap, looks very bright and looks like it has been designed with someone who hasn’t got an eye so something that has the design quality of a great watch or a great pen. Understated elegance I think. Just like Dom Reilly products!
Pleasure Dom….Can I go now? I’ve got ads to write!
Ben Priest - Executive Creative Director, Adam & Eve DDB travels with his Dom Reilly weekender.
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