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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : September October 2007
Brown: “You usually find the ones who have worked overseas tend to be a little bit more rounded, they tend to understand the real world of advertising a bit better, they can see in other cultures advertising is embraced and liked as opposed to despised and ignored, especially the culture in London.” tising a bit better, they can see in other cu ltures adver tis ing i s embraced and liked as opposed to despised and ignored, especially the culture in London where from my experience they love great ads and the cul ture didn’ t really exist in Australia when I left. It’s probably changed in Australia a little bit but peopl e hat ed adver tising in Austral ia when I left – well, that was my perception, and I thought wow, there’s a whole country here that actually love great ads, what an inspiring market to be in,” Brown says. Brown doesn’t necessarily think Australians blossom while working overs eas – it’s normal ly the ones who do re ally well at home that do well overseas: “I k now there are some people who have had limited success over here and then h ad more success overseas because they have found themselves in a better situation. I don’t think they become better ; I just think they needed more opportunity or work better in an environment that had a better landscape. In gener al Aust ral ians do well overseas because they cut through the bull shit and they are a long way from home so they have to make it work. The alternative to not making it work is the y come home with their tail through the ir legs, so their desire to succeed is stronger than some of the locals in whatever country they are in.” Brown was looking at starting an agency in London, but felt more SEPTE MBE R/OCTOB E R 2 007 comfortable doing it in Austr alia than in the UK, whic h is what mad e hi m come home. On hi s return he worked at The Campaign Pal ac e for seve ral ye ar s b efore teaming up with his writer Paul Fishlock and Palace suit Matthew Melhuish to launch BMF. Why did he go to London in the first place? “I wanted to be one of the best in London and that’s what I set out to achieve… I went there because I thought - and believed - it was the best training ground in the world for creative people and in the 1980s it probably was. At the time there weren’t many other markets to go to a nd work with all the best people in the world,” he says. While the centre of world adver- tising has since expanded with great work coming from a diverse range of markets (even Romania won a Lion at Cannes this year) Brown stil l recommends cre atives head overseas for experience on the basis that they’ll never find out how good they a re u nt il they wor k in the tough markets on the big brands. “That’s when you find out if you are good enough to cut it on the world stage. There’s no point in staying here and trying to achieve that goal, you can try, but it’s pretty difficult, you’ve got more chance if you go overseas and try and mix with more of the hotspots around the world,” he says. John Fawcett, former creative direct or an d CEO of G eor ge Patterson Partners - who eventually Fawcett: “In the Australian creative department you really get huge exposure for different skills and talents, you don’t get that in the States - or the UK to a lesser extent. So Australia is a valuable place for that reason, they can put you almost anywhere on the field and you can play in that position.” became worldwide CD of Bates for several years - now head of a cogni- tive fitness company cal led Headstrong, d isagrees, s aying h e never felt lik e he had to wo rk abroad to make it – after all he was creative di rector and then CEO of the largest agency in the country for many years, but thinks his interna- tional experience helped shape him as a p erson. Fawcett h ad s everal stints abroad throughout his career, working in Singapore, Hong Kong, London and New York. “Every t ime you pitch a piece of business an d you win, e very time you write a g reat s cript, you l earn from that a nd you app ly that, you put tha t in your bag of e xperience and i t a ll helps. So y es, t ravelling and international experience helps, but I couldn’t put anything down to any pa rticu la r j ob i n a ny gi ven country, you ar e an amalgm of a ll the pe ople y ou have wor ked with and a ll the things you have l earnt and you g et t aught a lo t of things when you work in o ther countries. I worked with some f antastic peo- ple, some highly talented and en or- mously skilled people that I w ould not have met if I hadn’t left Austr alia and tr avelled,” sa ys Fawcett. He still has fond memories of his first s tint a broad – in S ingapore when he was in hi s e arly twenties. One o f h is c lients wa s Singapore Airlines for whom he had a regional role – he would fly to Malaysi a or India spending a week in th eir office to write a brochure or a cou- ple of ads or a local campaign then pack h is su itcase, g et o n a p lane and fly somewhere else – which was fantastic experience at that age. Like Premutico, Fawcett v alues the bro ader s kill set Austra lians develop working in a smaller mar- ket, particularly the f act th at y ou are exposed to all the different dis- ciplines almost f rom th e time yo u start. He c ontrasts this with New York, where someone who starts in the m edia d epartment p robably hasn’t e ven met anyone f rom t he creative department their whole life and the y c an’t re late to w hat y ou do. The wor k is also less spe - cialised. Says Fawcett: “In the Australian creative department you r eally g et huge e xposur e for d iffe rent sk ills and t alents, y ou don’t g et that in the S tates - or the UK to a l esser extent. So Australia i s a v aluable place for that r eason, they can p ut you a lmost anywhere on the f ield and you can play in that position.” Fawcett thinks th is is one of th e reasons there are Australians in top jobs in adver tising ar ound the world, but says it is not restricted to advertising, that th ere a re a lo t of Australians in influential positions in different industries a round the world: “I think it’s about personali- ty, we a re good people, we have a good sense of humour, we’ve got a good work ethic, we seem to have a natural way of balancing work and play, we work hard, play hard ? CAM PA IGN B R I E F 43
November December 2007
July August 2007