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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : May June 2007
Creative consultant Jay Furby Rowan Dean, ECD at Euro RSCG Sydney Denneen says for him the fun has always been in the kick he gets out of directing and editing, and in the old days there was a greater tradi- tion of story-telling and bigger ideas that were like making mini-films. As a director you also had greater flexibilit y in the way the ad was shot, says Denneen, who laments that in general creative standards have dropped. “The bigger clients do have the budgets but even then they are real- ising a lot of the smaller clients are getting away with a really cheap job done to a pre tty high sta nda rd because you are only as good as your last job and if we don’t do the job for a tight budget someone else will,” he says. “There’s so many people in the business, everybody is cutting in on each other and we are pushed into situations where we are spending lots of money, time and effort doing submissions for jobs. It may only end up being a one-day shoot but you might spend three days doing the submission and then not get the job.” While Filmgraphics, like many TVC and post production compa- nies, used to throw fantastic parties which were legendary in the indus- try, its last party was a decade ago and there were so many cigarette burns in the carpet they had to replace it and repaint the building, ending that tradition. That said, Denneen doesn’t think the part y atmosphere nece ssarily resulted in better work being made: “Even then there were the guys who wined and dined that would do the B-Grade work and on the other side were the directors that were work- ing really hard and doing the better MAY/JUN E 2007 Left to right: Nobby and Rob Belgiovane at a typical CB Lunch, held regularly throughout the year - with Dave Droga (Droga 5, NYC) and producer Haydn Evans work and not going out to the long lunches so much. This is a business where you have to be s o in love with it to rise to the top, you just have to eat and sleep it. There’s no way you can dabble in it, it’s not a nine-to-five job. It takes over your whole life,” he says. Perhaps feeling self-conscious about sounding like he was com- plaining, aft er t he inter view Denneen called back to reiterate that he loves his job and can’t imag- ine doing anything else. Meanwhile, his long-time produc- er Anna Fawcett says the fun only goes out of advertising when y ou work with people with no sense of the importance of creativity or peo- ple witho ut a sens e of humour . Often, the price for having fun i s that you don’t have a life outside your job, says Fawcett: “My usual day is at least twelve hours and we need to always be on call. With the business being global, we get emails and inquiries from c ountries in dif- ferent t ime zones and immediate response is necessary. So yes, there is stil l fun, and with the business changing, it will bring more oppor- tunities and I feel a more creative way of approaching every project,” Fawcett says. Rowan Dean, executive CD a t Euro RSCG Syd ney, recently swi tched back to the agency cre- ative side after directing for many years. [As an Aussie expat, he was a top writer in London during the magical 80s, who created the origi- nal Foster’s ‘Paul Hogan’ spots and was co-creator, with Garry Horner, of the iconic Hamlet ‘Photobooth’ spot] . Dean says the adver tis ing industry has always been fun, most- ly because you are creat ing things that get into the culture, make peo- ple l augh a nd g et t alked a bout: “Vanity has always been the biggest fun of advertisi ng. The s econdary side, th e p artying a nd s o f orth, I think a l ot o f p eople t alk up t he excesse s of the sev enties a nd t he eighties. Of c ourse there were the long l unches, an d al l of that, bu t the fun h as alwa ys p redominantly been a ll the characters, the l arger- than-life c reative characters, copy- wr iters, dir ector s, and so on. Although there’s probably a slightly more so ber approach to i t now, I think it i s s til l ve ry much a f un industry a nd t he fun c omes f rom the creativity.” He thinks some of the talk about the good old days is nostalgia mak- ing people se e things through rose coloured g lasses: “I’m s ure i n 1 5 years time the kids that are now the young creatives wi ll be r eminiscing about the noughties and what a fan- tastic t ime t hat was. There w ere long lunches and there was proba- bly mor e a lcohol f uelled e vents in the past, but I think that was more to do wi th [ changes to ] drink dri- ving [ laws] and so on, than adver- tising as such,” Dean says. Vaughan also w onders whet her it really was as much fun ‘back then’ as i t s eems in r etrospect : “In on e sense, it does seem that it was more freewheeling, cocky an d opt imistic. Good ideas s eemed more v alued. But it’s a basic tenet of psychology that our mi nds re pres s n egat ive memories, and push pl easant ones to the front. So the memory isn’t to be entir ely tr usted. T o view it another w ay, t oday’s gr ind may seem, in a decade or two, a frolic in the p ark. After a ll, t hings s eem more fun when you’re young and immortal.” Whil e th ere’s a sense t hat the work was bett er ba ck then D ean says this i s because we r emember the b est a ds f rom t hat t ime a nd wipe out v isions of the dull ones. He d oesn’t a gree with t he s enti- ment that you write better work sit- ting around at a long lunch. “I r emember as m any c reat ives sitting around in their offices strug- gling to write ads as there are now. I’m sure there were some great ads written o n n apkins, b ut e qually there were s ome l ess t errific a ds written on napkins and some pretty crappy ads written on napkins, so again I think there is a bit of myth- building going on there,” he says. But vet eran t ypogra pher Mike Chandler - w ho ran Sydney’s l eg- endary Face. The Type Workshop throughout t he l ate 7 0s a nd 8 0s until the Apple Mac killed his busi- ness, insists the work coming out of that era was a t housand times bet- ter: “I have s een a couple of ads I like in rec ent t imes, but I could count on one hand thing s that appeal to m y sen se o f advertising, and that’s very sad, it must be bor- ing as batshit to work in the adver - tising industry now,” he says. Adver tising was such a good career c hoice b ecause i t was s o much fun and full of creative ener- gy, s ays Chandler. “There were a lot of good people and a lot of fun people who l ived t o d o the wo rk, the work was paramount and that made doing i t a ll the more fun. I kind of feel sorry for people in the game now in that th ey have to do everything themselves. Today art ? CAM P A I G N B R I E F 39
July August 2007