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I was there for two and a half years, and that was like five or six years anywhere else. I like leaving that comfort zone and building a creative culture. To me, one of the reasons why I took the job, (while everyone tells me ‘you are crazy’, which actually makes me want to do it even more), is that the natural thing for me, after Saatchi was to do a start-up. But taking a huge operation and make it feel like a startup is a great challenge.
It’s a workload that is very rapid and very global. Fundamentally an agency, no matter how big, is really a collection of people.
And by chance there was some big creative in Australia who was setting up an agency and he asked if I wanted to join, and I did, so I was the first employee. They didn’t even have a desk or anything like that, and again they were relatively young as well, 27, 28.
So none of us had any agenda or cared too much about money. Suddenly we went from a four man shop to a fifty man shop. When he left, I was almost writing everything so they asked me if I wanted to be the creative director and they offered me a partnership in the agency.
I couldn’t work with an art director, I had to do the idea myself. The surprise was, when I became a creative director, was that I got off just as much, if not more, from my creatives having great ideas.
I could feel my personality in their ads, but I didn’t have to write it for them.
You have won everything there is to be won, so tell me.
Is there an ideal time frame from brief to final delivery that a gold, award-winning ad needs to be in.
I didn’t know what I inherited, I just thought, wow, that’s an interesting title.We were quite removed from the industry then, we were sort of the whipper snapper. From the biggest to the smallest names in the industry. That ignorance and naivety probably allowed me to present and say things in meetings that other people would have been too sensible to do.But our work was not only the most awarded, it was also the most talked about. It’s not like law firms when you know you have to put 10 years here, 15 years there. I decided to work as hard as I could to leapfrog past the bullshit and awkwardness of some of the stuff we do in our industry. At that time I was very successful in Australia and I had lots of offers to go to other places for muuuch much more money, but I knew that if I did that it would go in a different avenue that I didn’t want to go. I stayed there for a while, but it got to a point where we were taking ourselves too seriously, and of course the partners were now married with kids and they were now sitting down to think about their mortgages and stuff, which is o.k.I was lucky to be a top student, so I got a job right away in some big boring multinational.After only a few months in that boring big multinational I knew what I clearly didn’t want to do.