Not to be confused with Ben Stiller
Ben Barton Spiller is a marketing professional and former public toilet owner from London. He is probably best known for going viral in 2009 on a nascent YouTube with a video that looks old even for 2009, then not uploading another one until 2020.
He recently - during lockdown - got his father's rejected manuscript into the Amazon Kindle UK History top 30 using digital media. You can read about it here: https://www.publishdad.co.uk
Spiller is concerned that many advertisers have become too obsessed with data and trying not to offend anyone and have forgotten that the more personal the message, the more relatable it is.
His favourite quote on advertising is 'Advertising is the study of everything economists are wrong about.'
Spiller climbing down a ladder in South Africa, before bunjee jumping, 2019
Spiller was born in Crouch End, London. He lived in India and Brazil as a child, then moved to Loughborough at the age of 13, where he realised that people in England were very different to the people in Brazil. These early thoughts may have led to an early interest in psychology.
Spiller suggests that his interest in marketing may have been piqued in the cinema in 1999, when he saw this advert for MG - which he later described as a very underrated advert. If the key to advertising is getting into the core personality of the perfect prospect, then this advert does that.
He has also mentioned interest in the original Hamlet adverts, which he described as 'a powerful emotional hook brought to the fore by an advert'. He feels that the marketing world has lost its way recently and that daring, big ideas that unpretentiously appeal to the ideal customer's core personality would really stand out now.
Spiller has worked as a contractor since making the decision to travel more in 2015. His work history, in reverse chronological order is listed below.
Spiller at 4 years old, bravely fighting a lion in New Delhi, India
Sep 2019 – Feb 2020 (contract)
- Wrote, edited (and starred in) large viral campaigns such as #actuallylove; working with national media
- Managed the Grenfell Tower communication strategy
- Retargeted followers with CTAs to high importance events
- Worked with local organisations and council run facilities to promote schedule of events
Examples of organic content made for RBKC. This content increased monthly engagement by over 100%.
Have you heard the incredible story of Kensington's fake houses?
Is this the most INTERESTING McDonald's in the world?
Free books for under privileged kids (which Spiller hates by the way)
Dec 2018 – Mar 2019 (contract)
- Programmatic email campaigns, including automated campaigns for Imperial Summer School, Imperial Summer Rowing, Imperial Hotels and Imperial Summer Accommodation. These campaigns were programmed to both inform and excite the students in anticipation of their arrival
- Content strategy featuring video, image and blog content creation for Imperial Summer School emails and website – including extensive use of Adobe Premier Pro and InDesign
- Wrote and designed www.sportimperial.co.uk
- PPC management for Summer School and Summer Accommodation
Sep – Nov 2018 (contract)
Put together top of the funnel content strategy, with the aim of turning the IWSC into a media company. A rising tide lifts all ships, so engagement in fun or interesting content is key. I proposed the following content ideas:
- Friday Evening cocktail club (video – Facebook Live) filmed in partner locations and featuring award winning IWSC drinks, this idea promoted IWSC as well as our applicants
- Quick-fire interviews of winners (video – Facebook + Insta) – appealing to the entrepreneur audience as well as the alcohol one
- ‘The most expensive cocktail in the world’ – entertaining build up in weekly episodes towards an apex: the creation of the most expensive drink ever made
- Wine Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday – jumping into existing hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, with IWSC suggestions for wine and cocktails that fit that week’s world events
- Repurposed existing content for CTA emails and the a monthly digest
- Dotmailer email design and campaign programming to applicants and emails aimed at upselling IWSC award winner stickers and digital products.
- Event planning, event social media management and live social filming at events
- Design for billboards, magazines and social media in InDesign and Canva
- Scaling the unscalable – jumping into Twitter and Instagram conversations and leaving value in the comments of conversations relevant to wine and spirits.
Spiller worked for The IWSC where it was encouraged to drink at work, thank God.
Dec 2017 – April 2018 (contract)
- Created suite of useful video content from existing video footage
- Put together showreel content of conferences
- Creation of suite of ‘How To’ content
- Creation and distribution on monthly newsletter
- Creation of trailers to attract potential speakers
- Creation and distribution of trailers to promote events
- Event day social media and word press management
- Design of infographic content
When I joined DH.L in December 2017, we needed to attract over 100 applicants to our Dragon’s Den style early investor fund. I did it by pushing out content to create a buzz, using this campaign concept, and by targeted ads via Google AdWords and YouTube pre-rolls.
Jan 2015 – Sept 2015 (contract position)
A high budget start-up company that has developed a unique solution to the ubiquitous issue of auto enrolment. The company is part of the award winning ‘Creative Benefits’group.
- Designed and programmed (via Dotmailer automation) B2B and B2C content marketing email campaigns. 25% average open rate over 6 months, sending to over 10,000 contacts as well as email customer retention campaigns shown below
- Organised and ran events – including ‘Payroll World’
- Organised PR and media planning, through The Times, Telegraph, Accountancy Age and others
- Developed and managed online presence – YouTube, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and website
- Wrote and designed suite of Sales Presentations in Prezi – used by sales team
- Wrote and implemented range of explanatory whiteboard videos as well as promotional videos that were used as content for emails and YouTube pre-rolls / Facebook dark posts
Spiller designed advert featured in the Financial Times and Telegraph for Creative Auto Enrolment
June 2010 – January 2015
-Project managed and wrote Sales training DVDs (and corresponding printed collateral) for both RH and KN – rolled out to over 1000 sales people around the world
- Conceptualised and project managed a number of high profile events – including the national ‘driver of the year’ competition at Silverstone
- Developed successful B2B lead generation email campaigns for RH and KN
- Implemented the online presence for RH, then KN, including Google Adwords, YouTube videos, banners and Social Media campaigns
- Implemented a sales support campaign via CMS that sent warming content to prospects on the day of a call, then enabled the sales person to overcome specific objections via email after the call end.
- Designed (InDesign) posters, email campaigns, magazine adverts and banners and this mug
- Worked closely with design agencies to coordinate high budget projects.
Marketing Executive, CCH Fee Protection
April 2008 – June 2010
- Developed, executed and managed the company marketing plan, which featured marketing initiatives designed to penetrate and grow targeted accountancy practices.
Although Spiller accidentally found himself involved in a career in marketing not advertising, he did design a few adverts in the early years of his career. His approach to advertising has however changed a lot over the years and he was once heard saying the following:
'The creative is always the variable of success. A great ad should exploit the reality of the core person behind the pretense as much as possible. It should try to show that a product can achieve what the core person really wants and that the company behind the product has something in its DNA that its competitors don’t.'
'Brian' a seminal ad for Kuehne + Nagel Movember foundation was rejected by KN management
In mid March 2020, Spiller was in Vietnam, in a capsule hotel. that cost £7 a night. He flew back to his parents home in Loughborough in an attempt to escape the corona-virus.
Living with his elderly parents has had its ups and downs, but it has enabled the Spiller father and son team to work together on publishing and promoting Spiller senior's books.
The purchase of this table tennis table topper has potentially saved the family.
During lockdown, he listened to seemingly thousands of podcasts and worked on three projects:
Stock emotion is a satirical Instagram page aimed at people who are losing patience with modernity. It has grown from 0 - 350 followers organically within the last few months.
Spiller believes that lookalike audiences in Facebook ads are the 8th wonder of the world). He used the power of Facebook ads to market his father's book - Pilot Error - to men over 50 with an interest in military history, The result? A pique position of 22 in Amazon UK History (ahead of one of Hilary Mantel's books) - and 492 sales in one month - a rise of 492% compared to the previous month.
The ads for these books follow the Ogilvy advertising rules of including a simple promise, quotation marks and a decisive statement. They ads also benefit from huge social proof, as they continue to attract comments and reactions from prospects.
PonderVerse is a fledgling channel of hard hitting ideologically stoic videos that aim to give people the tactics to make themselves happier.
PonderVerse is an insight into the mindset Spiller hopes to have one day. The videos are written and edited in Filmora by Spiller - using a voiceover artist on Fiverr.com.
Spiller has explored 55 countries, including a few unusual ones like Lesotho and San Salvador. You could say that he has seen things that no man should see. Despite being terrified, he has done two of the biggest bungee jumps in the world, eaten a lot of different food and met thousands of drunk people - he writes it all down in his diary.
Seeking patterns between bits of knowledge and experience is the essence of his creativity. He will happily make freakonomics style comparisons between seemingly irrelevant behavior and is obsessed with the ego.
He believes that travelling so much has made him realise the importance of pushing past fear, dissolving ego, taking action and developing a growth mindset.
When based in London, Spiller is sometimes a Young Enterprise Mentor. He lets the kids think that he is much more successful that he really is - to inspire them (plus it makes him feel important).
In 2017, one of Spiller's students - Jaden Minot - won the prestigious Jack Petchey award. They both went to pick up the award from Canary Wharf - where they were given a fancy buffet lunch. Jaden had never seen an olive before, so it was a real learning experience.
This tray - invented by Spiller is revolutionary. It has a HANDLE (and some other cool stuff). It will make you question conventional tray design.
Owning a public toilet is a nightmare, which is why Spiller sold it for exactly the same price he paid for it.
The Secret Beer mug is a mug for people who like to pretend it's always Saturday night.
Spiller tried out TikTok in a desperate attempt to be cool, and got 250,000 views on his first attempt.
Spiller was 'educated' at The University of Central England - a former polytechnic institution that had previously functioned as a large launderette.
He studied Marketing and was awarded a 2.1 for his efforts, but this was in the early 2000s, when marketing largely consisted of copy and pasting stock images into email templates..
2001-2004 – Birmingham City University. BA (HONS) MARKETING (2.1)
2005 - University of Wales, Swansea.
Postgraduate CELTA Certificate
3 A-levels & 2 AS levels. 10 GCSEs.
Level 2 Certificate in Web Design.
What do industry peers say about Ben Spiller?
He's an old millennial and never got involved in all the snowflakery that's going around these days.
He loves this scene from Mad Men.
He loves a side hustle. He wants to smash up a Picasso dish and sell pictures of the smashed up Picasso dish.
It is rumored that he brings a free gift to interviews.
Spiller was once overheard saying, ‘Yes, Facebook lookalike audiences and re-targeting are the 8th and 9th wonders of the world. And ads should feed leads through multiple funnels. Testing is key, it humbles the ego and makes campaigns more profitable. Analysing data will give you and understanding of who your customers are and what they want. But spare some budget for those things that can’t be measured – your competitors probably won’t.' as he leaned against a lamppost.
He can be contacted via LinkedIn, or by calling 07877525167.
Spiller has not spoken to UCE friends since leaving - they agreed to put the whole thing behind them