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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : May June 2010
NEWSMAKER 10 CAMPAIGNBRIEF MAY/JUNE 2010 "This place has a can-do attitude that I really like, a real no-bullshit attitude, it's fantastic. You know where you stand with creatives, and with clients and everything else," he says. Advertising was a career choice Marshall stumbled upon while studying law, something he says he was terrible at. Someone mentioned advertising and considering he'd always scribbled, drawn and created cartoons and sound effects tapes, all the things you would imagine someone who is perfectly right for advertising would do, he quit his law degree and started studying advertising at Watford College. His first job was at Laing Henry where he worked for two and a half years. In 1995, when Maurice and Charles Saatchi left Saatchi & Saatchi to set up M&C Saatchi, agency partner Jennifer Laing was lured back to Charlotte Street and she took Marshall and Willmott with her. "So I sneaked in to Saatchi's through the back door, felt very grateful for it and then worked my arse off for years so they wouldn't get rid of me," he says. Apart from a short interlude at Leo Burnett London -- he missed Saatchi & Saatchi so much he asked for his old job back -- he stayed at the agency until relocating to New York in June 2003 and says he had some of the most fun times of his life there. During this time he created cam- paigns for clients including the British Army, Sony, T-Mobile, Club 18-30 and the highly awarded NSPCC's 'Cartoon' featuring an animated child being abused by his father, which contributed to Saatchi being recognised as agency of the year at Cannes 2002. While Saatchi & Saatchi London had long been a highly creative agency, there was a lot of work to be done at Publicis New York with Droga brought in to lift the creative profile of the network. The year they joined it became New York's most awarded agency at Cannes. When Droga approached him to become a partner in a start-up, Marshall said yes straightaway. "It was something I'd always wanted to do, I always wanted to be at an agency full of people that are good at what they do and are also good people," says Marshall. "David's a top bloke, everyone that walked in through those doors were good people and I think that's so important. Whether it was a success or not, I still wanted to do it because it's great coming to work every day and enjoying what you do." The first work that came out of Droga5 New York was a viral for clothing brand, Marc Ecko, show- ing a graffiti artist jumping the fence of the Andrews Air Force Base and tagging Air Force One (the President's 747) with the words 'Still Free'. It attracted over 100 major broadcast news appear- ances in the US and featured in over 17,000 global news outlets. Associated Press and Nielsen Ratings put the total audience at over 115 million. When it won Titanium and the Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes that year, Droga5 was launched onto the world stage. "I really loved doing that cam- paign" says Marshall. "It was a great project, the client was fantas- tic, they wanted raw creativity and they wanted something that was going to burn brightly. It was an idea I was proud of, it was executed really well and directed really well, the craft was good all the way through and it did its job. We put it out there and a lot of people saw it and it did what the client wanted to. So it ticked every box in terms of expectations." The other Droga5 campaign he's most proud of is the New York Department of Education's 'Million', an incentive program that gave New York school kids a free cell phone (provided by Samsung and Verizon) with free talk time and text messaging rewards for excellent attendance, behaviour, classroom participation, homework and grades. "It was a nice simple idea and it was nice to do something that didn't seem to have been done before. And it was successful, it got the results, it got kids learning, the teachers were happy, and the par- ents were happy," he says. "Now it is being implemented in different places -- we have had interest in Australia for it too. There is an altruistic side to it, which is kind of heart warming." While Droga5 has been a stand- out performer at the award shows globally, the Australian office has made less of a splash. Is Marshall's remit to change that? He says he wants to raise the stan- dard of the creativity, absolutely, but that the agency has only been going two years and he's proud of the work he's seen here. In particu- lar, he mentions VB's 'Regulars' which has won awards worldwide including a D&AD Yellow Pencil, along with Droga5 winning B&T 2009 Agency of the Year. "I'm certainly not here because the work isn't up to standard. There is always room for better work and we've never looked at this place as playing second fiddle to New York, we are all one compa- ny," says Marshall. "That we've had successes is great, we may have been lucky in that the opportunities we've had have made it easier to do work that is more internationally recognised. Maybe the work here is more local work. Who knows, there's always a million reasons why work doesn't win -- I've done work that I've thought is the best work I've done in my entire life that won absolutely nothing at Cannes, not even a Bronze, and I used to have a big sign on my desk saying, 'Bronze equals death'." Something Droga5 has been doing in New York, and will be doing more of locally is getting involved as early as possible with its clients, developing products and new lines. Droga5 Sydney has just been given an opportunity to get in at the earli- est possible stage of a new product for an unnamed client, and that's the first thing he'll work on when Million - Titanium Lion in 2008 (Droga5, New York) he arrives in June. Marshall's not saying where the next Droga5 office will be, but points out that the global spotlight is on China and India. "I don't know anything about the Indian market, I've been to India and I love India, I've been to China and that's fascinating," he says. "Who knows? We'll see where the opportunity rises. I'd love to see the network extend but we don't want to see it extend just to be able to say we have three, four, five offices, there has got to be a reason to open up there. If we can't improve on what's there, there's no point in going there." For now, he's happy to spend time in Australia. After judging the Clio Awards in April he came away with the impression that some of the best creative in the world is coming from Australia, adding there's plenty of competition here. Says Marshall: "Beyond just advertising -- arts and film and music and all these other cultural things -- it seems such a booming time over here, the economy is great, we are on the right side of the world. It just seems like if there was ever the perfect time to get into Australia and learn about the Australian market, and grow with that market, it's now. "There's no other company I would consider working for. I'm obviously a partner in Droga5, but I love the way the whole company is set-up, the way people work, how collaborative it is, and I love how creativity goes to the core of every- thing we do." Marc Ecko - Cannes Cyber Lions Grand Prix 2006 WWF - Silver Lion in 2000 (Saatchi's London) UNICEF Tap Project - Titanium Lion 2007 (Droga5) NSPCC - Gold Lion in 2002 (Saatchi's London) Club 18-30 - Gold Lion in 2002 (Saatchi's London) TBS - Bronze Lion in 2004 (Publicis New York) The Great Schlep - Titanium Lion in 2009 (Droga5) Army - Gold Lion in 2000 (Saatchi's London) "There's no other company I would consider working for... I love the way the whole company is set-up, the way people work, how collaborative it is, and I love how creativity goes to the core of everything we do."
January February 2010