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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : May June 2008
TE AMW OR K McGRATH& IN FEBRUARY THIS YEAR, CLEMENGER BBDO, MELBOURNE managing di rec tor Pet er Bi ggs and exec utiv e c reativ e dire ctor James McGrath clocked up their first year working together to reinvigo- rate the agency. Successes include $99m wor th of n ew business, a Cannes Radio Grand Prix, a Gold Siren award, and an AFA Effectiveness award. McGrath describes it as, “a year of vulnerability, a discovery of some amazing client legacies in terms of sustained campaign ideas, a reinforcement of the privilege an exceptional group of creative people can give you and the re-emergence of an agency’s ability”. WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET? Biggs In a secret place away from prying eyes, somewhere in Melbourne. First impression of James? A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma – I liked him instantly. McGrathMy first impression of Peter was from a distance. We were in one of those en-masse inter-agency new business briefings, while I was still at George Patterson Y&R. I was intrigued, and observed with interest (plus a degree of eavesdropping) a phone conversation I heard him make thanking – I assumed – a New Zealand friend for a terrific farewell dinner. It struck me as an extraordinary thing to take the time in what was for most of us an all-consuming and preoccupying meeting to call with such specific care and personal acknowledgement. It was, and is, a classic Peter hallmark. WHAT MAKES THE PARTNERSHIP WORK SO WELL? Biggs Together, we are the completely balanced personality. I am the Gemini with the short attention span; he is the Taurus with incredible focus and stickability. I am the optimist; he is the pessimist. We both believe in the same values: the unwavering pursuit of excellence in everything, integrity above everything else and nurturing people with extraordinary talent. I gave James a couple of books to mark our first anniversary of working together, both by one of my favourite writers, Geraldine Brooks. McGrath From a partnership point of view Peter is the bold, emotional detail person, I am into the more pragmatic details of the detail. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WORK PRODUCED IN THAT TIME? Biggs The Pure Blonde spot. We could have got it so wrong. The final result is testimony to the genius of Emma Hill and Cam Hoelter. James put his complete trust in them and it was rewarded beyond belief. McGrath Our rediscovery of the essence of Clemenger. WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT 2008 SO FAR? BiggsWe’ve won a swag of new Foster’s brands. A brilliant new spot for Carlton Draught. The ongoing staggering sales results for Pure Blonde. The growing obsession within the agency to do history-making work for all of our clients. The privilege of continuing to help steward some of Australia’s iconic brands. McGrath A year on, no one has to hesitate or wonder anymore how it is going to work, or what Peter and I think. The expectations have been set. HOW DO YOU APPROACH A PROBLEM? Biggs Believing with utter certainty that it can be solved. McGrath Obsessively look at the detail of the brand and what lies beneath the problem, searching for that extraordinary moment of truth. WHERE WOULD YOU GO FOR LUNCH AND WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER? Biggs Il Bacaro restaurant in Melbourne – the thistle quadretti with a Brancaia Chianti; or Taxi Dining Room in Melbourne – the Wagyu porterhouse beef with a Victorian or New Zealand pinot noir. McGrath Usually with Peter and vicariously enjoying the wine list. 16 CAM PA I GN B RIE F YOU’RE GIVING THE BEST MAN’S SPEECH AT HIS WEDDING. WHAT’S YOUR OPENING LINE? Biggs “The aesthetic adventure of a lifetime begins now. . .” McGrath “Peter loves the best in life, so he can share it with the people around him”. WHAT DO YOU ARGUE ABOUT? BiggsWhat James calls my “infantile desire to show off”. McGrath Too busy dealing with issues we agree on. DESCRIBE A GREAT DAY Biggs Any day I can make time to go to the gym. Do you think my 50-year-old sculptured body comes naturally? McGrath A day where the agency’s energy is focussed on the things that matter. IS JAMES ONE OF THOSE ECCENTRIC CREATIVE TYPES? IS PETER ONE OF THOSE BUTTONED-UP SUITS? Biggs James is the most remorselessly professional person I’ve ever met. He’s also one of the most modest people I’ve encountered. McGrath No buttons done-up or undone with Peter (except on those occasions where black tie is called for and the immaculate hand-made Saville Row dinner suit with patent leather shoes appears) and that’s because of his unique sense of substance over style. I would actually call Peter one of those eccentric creative types. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE OF WORKING TOGETHER? BiggsWatching James develop the creative work for NAB with extraordinary strategic rigour and precision. It was the first campaign we worked on and it’s when I experienced James as not only an incredible creative guy, but also as an amazing strategic thinker. McGrath Realising for the first time that I had a partner once again that believed completely in me as I did in them, something after my partnership with Anthony Heraghty at George Patterson Y&R ended, I doubted I would ever find again. DESCRIBE EACH OTHER’S OFFICES? Biggs James’ office is minimalist, tidy beyond belief and aesthetically terrifying. McGrath Peter doesn’t have an office. He is surrounded by his assistant, sitting opposite him at the same desk, and all of the flotsam and jetsam of his many and various celebrated career highlights: enormous fan club, books, decanters for sherry and single malt whiskey, a Villeroy & Boch teacup and an art form I don’t understand: glass art. WHAT’S THE MAGICAL HOLD OF CLEMENGER MELBOURNE? Biggs It’s a legendary agency in Australia’s best city, which while fiercely focussed on being one of the best agencies in the world, still believes that people and the work come before the money. This explains why the agency has always been commercially outstandingly successful. McGrath I guess the vanity of thinking that we will play a part in creating the next generational excellence of the extraordinary brand that is Clemenger. MAY /JUN E 2 008
July August 2008
March April 2008