“Kill Your Darlings” - Why we made it

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By Amir GuyJul 5 2022

Kill Your Darling Poster

How the idea for the film came about

The day after AdAge recognized “Kill your Darlings” as one of its Top 5 Creative Campaigns of the month of July, I thought I’d explain our thinking behind the documentary’s production: what made us do it, and why? Quite simply we wanted to examine the industry through the eyes of a young, hopeful creative, at a pivotal moment in her career and take viewers on her journey as she speaks with some of the most successful people in advertising. 

As a business which speaks to some of the most creative people in the world, we wanted to launch togetherr in a particularly creative way: to showcase the power of the big idea and to truly practice what we preach. 

More specifically, we wanted to smash wide open the important conversations that leaders need to have around inclusion, mental health, creativity and the future. AdAge described it as a “brutal dissection of the industry”. Brutal, yes, but also ultimately optimistic. 

The film's title

When Per Pedersen, founder of byThe Network and former Global CCO  for Grey, first suggested the title for our industry documentary, I immediately fell in love with it. My second gut instinct was to jinx it. I had an anxiety attack: “What are we saying, Per? Are we out to kill our industry? Are we an agency killer?”

I also knew, from the 25 years I’ve spent working at creative agencies, that the first sign of a good creative idea - a big idea - is two simultaneous reactions: awe and anxiety.

“We are not out to kill agencies, or for that matter anyone else in our industry”, replied my long time colleague and friend Per. “But we do want to tell the world that if you hate something, change it. It’s on us to re-invent it. If your idea for what an agency is doesn’t work anymore, kill it and build it differently.”

Reinventing the system

To sum it all up, I choose to quote Cindy Gallop, who tells our film protagonist Anouk Jans: “If you want to change the system you’ll have to do it from outside the system. Build it from the ground up, the way you want it and then have the system go ‘Fuck me, now I want to do it like that’”

The launch at Cannes Lions Festival

On June 20, 2022, we launched togetherr at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The response was overwhelming. Most, if not all, of the creative agency community and brand CMOs at Cannes, responded very positively to the ideas that lay the foundations upon which togetherr.com was built. 

Ideas around structural transformation, radical transparency, and the curation of global creative talent teams who are set to work on a specific project. togetherr exists to provide an alternative way of working and better access to independent talent: for brands and agencies.

Making advertising future-fit

“Kill Your Darlings”, is a documentary about the world of modern advertising and the creative talent defining it. We chose to make a film about the industry to launch togetherr, because we wanted to show the brilliant complexities and the many challenges that our industry faces. And we’re delighted that the film has achieved its goal of smashing open important conversations about what needs to change and how we can go about changing it. 

After all, advertising is a 200+-year-old business. And creativity is arguably the last unfair competitive advantage that brands have. The film’s protagonist, Anouk Jans, shows us just how fragile and precious the commodity of creativity is.

Here’s what people in advertising had to say about it:

“For those of you who work in the advertising industry ‘Kill your Darlings’ documentary is a must-see. You might not agree with all of the perspectives shared, but that's why it's even more important that you share yours as the challenge is real and we need to have a real talk. Kudos, togetherr Amir Guy Per Pedersen Anouk Jans and everyone else involved. #killyourdarlings #advertising #canneslions2022”

Petra Krulc

“Massive thanks to Per Pedersen, Trevor Robinson OBE, Anouk Jans, and everyone else who made this short possible. Let's change perspectives, no matter how big or small your agency is, let's fall in love with advertising again and again and again. I know I still am.”

Penelope Abreu

“Today I got the opportunity to watch #killyourdarlings and I’d highly recommend. It reminded me so much of my 7 years spent in Digital Advertising, the burnout and creative loss were incredibly tough. Watching smart and hardworking women being overlooked for promotion while the guys rose the ranks and thinking I needed to act more like a guy to find a way in. It was great to see a crack of hope and light being borne out of the new agencies popping up and attempting to solve the challenges with a broken model. Brought to you by togetherr Per Pedersen Anouk Jans” 

Kat O’Sullivan

Thanks also to AdAge, Campaign, and the rest of the media publications who contributed to the conversation.

To watch the full film, visit:


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