22 March 2022

Isobar Tastemakers: Teresa Makori

Teresa Makori, Associate Creative Director, Isobar Kenya, shares her inspirations, hobbies and why she hung up her lab coat to join the creative industry.
How did you end up being in the creative industry? 

I had no idea the advertising industry existed. I used to think each company created the ads it put out, ha! I’m a molecular biologist by education, but when I got into the labs, I was bored out of my mind because my mind wasn’t engaged. I couldn’t do the projects I wanted to do because you’re restricted to the projects that have or can get funding. So, I decided that I’d pursue writing and music, which were my two passions since I was a child. 

I joined an artist development program for singers and a music group that performed musicals. I was never able to characterise the kind of writing I did, it was poetry but not the rhyming kind. One time a beautiful ad advertising Dubai was playing on YouTube, and I recognised the voice over as being very much like the kind of writing I did, free flow writing, but still very poetic. Two weeks later I mentioned it to a friend, and they asked if I was referring to copywriting, I was like “copy-what?”. They just so happened to be working in a PR firm and introduced me through email to the then CEO of Isobar, went in for an interview and they hired me two months later, on my birthday, as a social-media and copywriting intern!


What's your favourite piece of work you have worked on? 

I would have to say the first TVC I wrote. It was for an insurance company, ICEA LION, when they were launching their online travel insurance portal. We called it “Covered in any language”. Not only was it such a fun script to work on (we had a Kenyan actor act out misadventures in top travel destinations in the native language of the destinations), it was also surreal seeing this coming to life and I finally felt like I belonged in the advertising world. 

What's the one piece of work you most wish you'd done? 

Always, like a girl. The incredibly simple but incredibly powerful execution. The impact it had on girls and boys, men and women, mums and dads! So much respect for that work. 

What kind of student were you? 

I was a mixture. 

Class clown. The one with a thousand and one questions…probably when you’re dying to leave the class. And, especially in the afternoon, the one constantly nodding off. 


What invention are you waiting to happen? 

Time travel. Just to come back and tell people “I told you so!” about global warming. 


What do you do if you've hit a wall with creative ideas? 

I love talking with people, anyone, about what I’m thinking of or working on. That person can be my housemate, my parents, my housemate’s daughter… just anyone in my vicinity. Hearing myself talk it out helps me notice things I may have passed over. A lot of times, I also take a nap. Usually, I’ll wake up having had a reset or even, sometimes, having cracked it!


What secret hobby do you have that would surprise us

I’m not sure this would come as a surprise, but I do enjoy composing music (at a very amateur level). 

I also have a kind of anonymous Instagram poetry page called @reluctant_fingers


Tell us about an artist that we've never probably heard of.

Jacob Shea. He’s worked with Hans Zimmer on a lot of compositions. He was my top musician for 2021 Spotify wrapped. 


Share one of your ideas that you need to make happen.

Ohmygosh so many. I’d love to do a campaign that raises awareness on the need for women who undergo painful cramps to get a period leave day. Another one is to increase paternity leave in Kenya.. 




Who do you most admire?


Sounds cliché, but my parents. They are some of the kindest wisest human beings I know. They managed to raise 6 children, all with such different personalities, and put us in brilliant schools...so far so good!




What's your favorite music / film / TV show / book / other of the past year, and why?


ARCANE. The writing, the storyboarding, the quality of the animation, the production and character design, the character arcs, the music scores!!! Please, stop what you’re doing now and put it on your watch-list. Thank me later. 




What advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?


You can do everything you think you can do. Stop focusing on what could go wrong or what you think you don’t have.