Ben Polkinghorne

Diploma in Creative Advertising

After completing his year at AdSchool with MDS, Ben landed a job at Colenso BBDO; made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list; and is currently working at AMV BBDO in London where earlier this year he won the big one-a Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival of Creativity.


Can you tell us more about the Grand Prix award you won? gives everyone in the U.K. an Air Quality Report for their home, based on annualised data from Imperial College. For the first time, we linked air pollution to property prices. We then made it easy for shocked homeowners to demand action at a local and national level. We were front page news on the printed edition of The Times, changed the law and influenced a change in government policy. Unfortunately, due to Covid, the Cannes festival was held online. Fortunately, the team still managed to have a fairly suitable knees-up.  


What’s the best thing about working as a creative ?  

Being surrounded by clever people who get excited about crazy, ridiculous ideas. Who refuse to take no for an answer and do everything in their power to make them happen. Sometimes, there are also free sandwiches left out after a meeting.  


What did you love most about Kate's mentorship when studying at the AdSchool? 

"Chairgate" was and continues to be a favourite memory. Ask Kate about it sometime - just don't expect her to tell you. Other than that, I loved how she knew what she was talking about but was still patient as our class got up to speed. We actually got on quite well together and still stay in touch to this day.  


What did you think you were in for when you started AdSchool?

That I'd somehow become a clever creative advertising person, I suppose. When I turned up on the first day and one of my classmates had a black eye, I really did wonder though. I figured worst case at least I'd learn how to come up with good ideas - so even if advertising wasn't my future I'd be in a good place.  


Any last words for anyone considering taking the AdSchool course?  

If you're even slightly curious, go chat with Kate. Taking this course was probably the single best career thing I've ever done. Ever.