As the resident ONEOFTHE8 wordsmith, I’m left lost for words almost every single time I sit down to write any of our stories. These people we are so lucky to be connected with and the stories we get to hear and share about them are honestly just astounding to me. Doing them justice through written word and stringing sentences together which truly reflect how marvellous they are is such a wonderfully weighty responsibility. Introducing this guy though is a whole other kettle of fish. Where do I even begin to summarise somebody I’ve spent my entire life admiring? So for now, I’ll keep it short and sweet: John Whalley - respected creative, ONEOFTHE8 founder and most importantly of all, our Dad.
As we cover in the write up of his cameo episode on the ONEOFTHE8 podcast, John (Dad) is a storytelling aficionado; a brand strategy guru and esteemed creative who is an inspiration to almost anybody he comes into contact with. In this article, we give you insight into the man behind the magic so that you can come to love our founder (almost) as much as we do. We talk favourite childhood memories, having the Dalai Lama round for dinner and the one simple message he has for the world…
Favourite childhood memory?
I’m from a relatively small family and my favourite childhood memories are of us all getting together in one house, especially for special occasions like Christmas, New Year and birthdays. There would be lively debates about football and Bond films on the telly. My grandparents would always make jam sponge birthday cakes decorated with some seriously bright coloured icing, and home made trifle that we all took home in jam jars. It was just brilliant.
It’s impossible to point to one single moment, but I can definitely group a continuous series of moments together under one headline - our kids. The pride felt when I first saw their faces emerge into the world, through to the chest busting pride of seeing the people that they have become today, and everything in between.
What would you tell the 20 year younger version of yourself?
I would definitely tell myself to take more chances in my professional life, and to have the self-belief required to take those chances and be more adventurous.
Who would you meet for dinner if you could?
This is such a difficult question, really tough. There are so many people it would probably have to be a massive banquet where I could meet them all. But if I’m pinned down to just one guest right now, I choose the Dalai Lama. I think the conversation would be fun, as well as absolutely fascinating, Gillian would love him, and the food would have to be a bit special too.
Which company or brand represents you best?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a massive advocate of brand purpose, brands that do good and put something back into society. One of favourites is Lego, I sometimes feel as though I’ve grown up with that brand, from playing with it as a kid, to loving how they have adapted and evolved. The work they do with their foundation is amazing too. But if I am picking just one brand that represents me, it is ONEOFTHE8, I just love what it stands for.
You get one text, maximum 150 characters, that goes to everyone in the world.
What does it say?
Respect the environment, respect each other, respect yourself, respect life.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’ve always been fascinated by Japan and it’s culture. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places in the world, but I haven’t been to Japan yet, so that's where I’d go. I would start with Tokyo, drive one of those Mario carts around the city, then jump on the bullet train and take it from there.
If you were to get another tattoo, what would it be?
Since getting my one and only tattoo for a very good reason, I’ve been tempted to get another one so many times, but haven’t had that moment of thinking ‘yes, that’s what I’ll get’. I’m pretty sure I will get another one, but I’m still waiting for the right reason. That’s an answer that takes me straight back to the question about my 20 years younger self, what did I say again about ‘being more adventurous’ :)
What 1 hour chunk of history would you like to see if it could be captured on video to watch?
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could see biblical times on video, imagine the impact of that on humanity today. Even the best technology would struggle with that one though. A more do-able answer for me would be two events that have happened within my lifetime - the moon landings and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Yes, they’re both on video, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we could revisit both with the same sense of awe that we had at the time. We need that device they use in Men In Black that wipes your memory, then to press play and see ‘one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’. Wow.