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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : May June 2007
T H E B U SINESS Vaughan. “Having a job whe re you put in your day’s work - the figures add up, the bricks are laid, or what- ever - and you’re done. But th en, whilst they may never s uffer some of the awful troughs of not-yet-hav- ing-an-idea -tha t’s-g reat- enough, they also never experience the high of: s hi t-this- is- amazing , I- can’t- belie ve- the-power-of-the -human- mind, either,” he says. But having worked overseas a l ot, Nobby thinks Austra lia sh ould pride itself on being the most happy and relaxed environment from a client/agency perspective he’s expe- rienced: “The idea of doi ng bu si- nes s ove r a be er in New Yor k would be hi ghly frowne d upon, although I di d t ry to int roduce the trend with li mited success. Aus trali a i s ver y relaxed ; in Australia having a beer is like shak- ing hands to many people.” So if the old definition of advertis- ing fun had a lot to do with excess, the new definition of f un has a lot to do with creativity and from that respect No bby thinks things hav e improved dramatically. What’s also gone is the indulgent acceptance of creatives acting lik e drama queens: “On the one hand, I’m saying a lot of the mystery and the magic ha s been los t in the process and I think that’s got to be a bad thing ul timately. But part of that mystery and magic a lso had a negat ive side which was c reat ive people se eing themselves as ar tists, and say ing to clie nts ‘y ou a re a philistine, I ’m an ar tist, let m e do my thing ’ a nd that was bu llshit . What’s interesting about this debate is i t starts with a very simple ques- tion but there’s no s imple ans wer because there’s things I genuine ly miss that we have lost in this transi- tion, this rite of passage, this grow- ing up, but equally there are things we have left behind that I think are best left behind,” Nobby says. After all, fun it might have been, but it was also a very un-PC busi- ness when he first started - a o ne- dimension al cliché to a cer tain extent: “For e very person laug hing there’s usually a victim on the other end, whether that be pinching bums or bullying or whatever form it took that was something that died a long time ago. Having fun in an agency contex t is a lo t more i nclusive . Twenty years ago it was much more tribal, it was the creatives are going to the pub and the suits can fuck off or the creatives are goi ng to lunch and the suits can come if they bring the ir c redit c ard. T hat really doe sn’t happen a nymore and I know that because I am always try- ing and it doesn’t work anymore.” Nick Robertson, director at Pl aza Films, r emembers wh en he f irst start ed as a 19-ye ar o ld c amera assistant in 1990 be ing shoc ked a t the amount of fun being had at the upper e chelons of pro duction an d adland: “There was a re ally healthy amount of money goin g on with budgets, there was a ca valier a tti- tude an d this r eflec ted i n al l th e clichés o f a dvertising. Advertising to a de gree ran t he roost wit h 46 CA MPA I GN B RIEF Nick Robertson - a director at Plaza Films, son of director Michael Robertson Dejan Rasic - ex CD of Lowe Hunt Sydney, starting his own shop soon Brown: “In the UK things happen at a much slower pace, there’s more time to craft and perfect an idea whereas in Australia not many clients understand the value of spending the time to get an idea right. Consequently they rush things out that’s pretty good but with a bit more effort could have been turned into something great - I think we are fantastic in playing it at seven-tenths.” clients and the way people operated so I think people really enjoyed the fun aspects of being in a cr eative industry,” says Robertson. “That’s something you can’t dismiss, we are in a creative in dustry and the tw o travel hand in hand and generally I find i f c reat ive s ar en’t happy- whether they are directors, photog- raphers, creatives in agencies - the y usually don’t hang ar ound in t he industry, they move o nto ot her things. The ones wh o are re ally enjoying it hang in the re f or th e long term and I think the in dustry has gotten far more s erious, espe - cially in Australia. T here’s a r eal push for better quality work a nd more bang for your buck and it’s a bigger market now, it’s f ar m ore competitive than it ever was esp e- cially with directors an d creatives which puts pressure on e verybody, which is a good thing.” For Warren Brown, pa rtner and ECD of BMF, Sydney, wo rkin g wi th real ly good c lients i s wh en advertising is r eally good fun and wor king wi th c lient s who have enough money to spend so every - thing you worked so hard to pro - duce gets seen: “I think an awful lot of e ffort goes into producing wo rk that doesn’t really se t th e p ublic alight - it’s unfortunate that the best creative talent hardly ever gets seen, or only gets seen at aw ards shows, that’s disappointing. The work that really moves the industry on is fan- tastic work done for big clients. Brown doesn’t think the work was any bett er back in th e go od old days, saying the great work now is every bit as good as the great work in the past: “Sometimes trends hap- pen where there c an b e an ov er reliance on CGI or some new tech- nical i nnovatio n b ut so met imes something as simple as chucking a load of coloured balls down a hill [fo r Sony] is a terri fic idea that doesn’t rely on special effects and was as good as any of the work that was done decad es pr evi ously. Simple, strong i deas that don’t rely on a fad or a fashion will stand the test of time and I think the industry is still capable of producing them. Also , the re st of the world ha s raised its game - the industry used to be dominated by work from the US and the UK but now there’s great work coming out of other countries that is their equal.” However , B rown con sider s Australia to be behind London in one respect: “In the UK things hap- pen at a much slower pace, there’s more time to craft and perfect an idea whereas in Australia not many clients unders tand the value of spending th e time to get an idea ri ght . Co nsequ ently they rush things out that’s pretty good but with a bit more effort could have been turned into something great - I think we are fantastic playing it at seven-tenths. You still have to work hard, you can’t afford to lull around and take it easy, you need to estab- lish a working environment where you have given yourself time to make t he most of your ideas and unfortunately not enough agencies or clients understand the value of being able to do that,” he says. Still, when he doesn’t have any work on in the afternoon, Brown is a fan of th e long lunch: “After a couple of pints of truth serum you can learn an awful lot and some- times i t’s good to blow off a bit of steam. Al so, becau se everyon e works so hard just being able to have fun with people in your indus- try in a totally stress-free, pressure free environment is good for the soul,” he concludes. 7 MAY/J UNE 2 007
July August 2007