How I got to be… Ben May, Senior Marketing Manager

An interview with Catch A Fire's Marketing lead, Ben May

by Hannah Weale | Careers | 16 November 2023

Job title: Senior Marketing Manager 

Years of experience: 10 years 

Places you have worked before: Weve, JCDecaux, PHD UK, OMD Worldwide 

Favourite all-time advert: This is a head-scratcher. Of all time? Probably Skoda’s car made out of cake! No matter who you were, it raised a smile, and remember to this day. But one that I have been around is for the British Heart Foundation. They created a reactive CPR TV awareness ad in just 72 hours after footballer Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest during a Demark game at the Euros finals in 2021. Creating a TV ad is no mean feat, but in 3 days, unheard of. The fantastic part is that it went live in time for Demark’s next game! 

What do you have to take to a meeting: Notepad, pencil and a cup of builders tea. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I have always dreamed (and actually still do sometimes!) of being a pilot, having been obsessed with planes since I was a kid. But have yet to make it my paid employment! I still take the occasional flying lesson, visit an airshow or get lost down the TikTok rabbit hole of #Aviation. Advertising was a later obsession of mine, growing from the love of movie posters and trailers. 

What would you say if you could go back in time and give your younger self career advice?

Trust in your abilities and yourself. Sometimes, people get caught up in where they want to end up and don’t focus on the step in front of them, doubting they have the skills to do it. 

Like many others, I have suffered from self-doubt and imposter syndrome. It wasn’t too a few years ago, chatting to an old company boss as she departed for a high profile job (which we all knew she would smash) and sharing her worries of self-doubt about the move. The sudden realization that it’s something everyone has to push through, no matter the level. Even when you can see the abilities are there by the bucket load — absolutely no need for it.

What is your favourite project you’ve worked on in your career so far, and why?

One of my favourite projects is one of my most recent. A real team collaboration between marketing, creative and social teams and executed by the entire agency. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we created handwritten notes in partnership with a local mental health service provider to put a smile on the faces of the entire village where Catch A Fire is based. It was a win-win project for all. This is an example of why I joined the agency and lived up to its purpose. 

Going further back, I helped launch a book in the UK about the future of technology in advertising. Getting the gadget man himself, Richard Ayoade, to host a panel debate at the launch in London’s Design Museum, surrounded by an expo of future tech. 

If you could work in any other industry, regardless of qualifications or experience, which one would it be and why?

It would have to be the movie business. The lure of glamour for most, but less so the acting for me, more the storytelling. I would love to be as skilled as the writers and directors who create such moving work that allows people to escape their world and jump into another. I would likely end up a runner, grabbing the coffee and doughnuts (there are worse jobs), but being around their process and seeing how they pull it all together would be amazing. 

What made you apply to be a Senior Marketing Manager at Catch A Fire?

It was the right time for me; I wanted a new challenge, but a challenge with a purpose behind it. Catch A Fire only chooses and attracts clients trying to impact the world positively and try to help them achieve it. That’s what pulled me in. Also, I’m sure, like every other member of the team, working in the Vineyard with that view always helps 🙌 

Want to join Catch A Fire?

If you like the idea of taking your career further and combining it with a B Corp business on a mission to create work that ignites positive change. Then, take a look at our open roles on LinkedIn or drop us a message.

01892 887239 |  

Or check out last month’s interview with Account Director Zara Camble 🔥