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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : January February 2010
43 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 CAMPAIGNBRIEF seen as sexist or sexy because the girls were above that, they didn't have the airline hostess image like the Lynx Girls, which the girls were very much like on other airlines -- they wore very short skirts and tight jackets -- whereas these girls were very romantically dres sed and we realized that the romance of travel was something that was getting lost," she says. "We looked at the girls who were the very first Singapor e Airline hostesses being trained and they were all like dolls, all so beautiful, it just seemed like a delicious thing to do to actually use them as the spokeswomen for the country." Another highlight is Ella Bache's billboards featuring members of the Sydney Swans posing naked to con- vince men to use its 30+ sun block with the tagline, 'Protect your largest organ longer'. The product became an instant bestseller. "That was the first time a skincare ad was in black and white and in the nude. Casting for the Ella Bache campaigns were legendary," she says. "You could do all of that in those days so that was fantastic, there was a whole different attitude towards creativity. I wanted to use iconic boys who were known to always be out in the sun and I wanted to make sure men knew it was acceptable to use sunscreen." Another breakthrough was for Oroton which approached DDI to help reposition the brand as the share price was way down and its reputation was as 'an old ladies handbag'. The agency coerced Vogue and Harper's Bazaar to put a supplement in the editorial section of the main collections issue in September -- a section previously off limits to advertisers. "We put a sealed bag inside, like a black envelope, and it was page one of that editorial section and most people thought it was a zip-out book on the collection and it wasn't until page three that they realized it was an Oroton catalogue, " says Davis. "And by that time people had already come to the conclusion that the bags were beautiful so that changed their perception of the brand. That was very gratifying because it was instrumental in turning around the image of Oroton." The philosophy of DDI was that all staff members should multi-task and Davis has never been afraid to try a new medium rather than spe- cializing. She suspects it could be a Kiwi thing. "I was born in New Zealand and there are so few people that you have to do everything. And a lot of Australians are the same. Americans come out, especially to do with the film industry, and can't believe it because everyone gets on with what we call multi-tasking so it wasn't actually conscious, it was just that if you were working on something and it needed a particu- lar medium, we did it," she says. Over the years she feels fortunate to have hired people with a strong work ethic, people who loved what they did and had a good time doing it. She is still in touch with many of the people who built their careers at the agency and says it's as much to do with chemistry as it is with tal- ent: "Don't just go and poach peo- ple because they are a famous name because they might not fit into your pie. People get seduced by a person rather than getting the right person and letting them grow so they become that person that other peo- ple want to poach from. That's a philosophy that we stuck by reli- giously and it really paid off as peo- ple stayed a long time and if they did go they went to great jobs." Apart from DDI and Batey Ads where she spent most of her adver- tising career, Davis had stints as creative director of Lintas, as group head at Ogilvy & Mather and worked at Hal Riney & Partners in San Francisco. "That was probably the highlight of my career," she says. "Working for Hal Riney was extraordinary -- he's an amazing person and he and his agency won everything there was to win. Also I loved the creative process, there were one, maybe two account service people, and one financial person and the rest of us working there were all creative peo- ple -- in an agency of about thirty," she says. "So the creatives had to do everything, which gave me a really good grounding and when starting DDI I remembered all the things I'd learnt from Hal and also from Ian Batey. They were the two gurus who had different ways of doing things and different ways of setting up their businesses, they were really genuinely 100 per cent about the creative product whereas a lot of agencies pretend to be about the creative product but they are really more about the business." Davis worked in the US for 18 months before she was poached back to Singapore to work with Batey. She'd invited Batey over to meet Riney because they were such like minded people that she expect- ed them to hit if off. Instead they couldn't stand each other. As one of the few high profile female creative directors, the scarci- ty of women in similar roles is something Davis has long pondered and still doesn't understand espe- cially considering that there are a tremendous amount of women in advertising: "I don't know what it is, I didn't find it restrictive being a woman to be perfectly honest, I didn't find I'm not doing that because I'm not getting the break. I don't think you were paid very well [as a woman in advertising] but I don't think I was held back because I was a woman. I never felt that ever and I don't think I recognized other women being held back. It wasn't' that they weren't given the opportunities, there just weren't that many women to choose from, there were all these blokes, but the money wa s a problem, definitely. When I found out what everyone was paid! So maybe they were all nice to me because I was so cheap." www.lookbooks.com.au Children of the HIMBA tribe Faie Davis photographed and lived with, who will be featured in her new book
May June 2010