I’m a visual ideas guy.
I’ve lived & worked in Sydney, Singapore, Amsterdam, London, New York, Los Angeles & Nepal as a Writer, Art Director, Creative Director, Graphic Designer, Interior Designer & Photographer.
I’ve won a bunch of international awards for creativity, been published by Random House & Vice Magazine,
and my work is in the permanent collection of MOMA.
Great ideas are incredibly precious.
They need nurturing & protection by the Creative Director. I’d hired a junior team who’s book of rough ideas showed potential. They delivered an utterly great first ever TV script. The ECD hated it & told me not to present it to client. (I presented it anyway, because if you don’t back your gut instinct you can’t be in the role)
I had a great client, but they rejected the lead talent because he looked old & weird. I convinced them to change their mind by quoting legendary Director Joe Sedelmaier: “30 seconds isn’t long enough to develop character, so ya gotta use one.”
“Rabbits” was voted the 2nd most loved ad ever in Australia.
Suicide is the #1 cause of death for men in Australia.
I wrote this ad for a 3 part documentary series about male suicide awareness called “Man Up”.
It ran once on TV.
It’s since been viewed over 70 million times & shared over 2.5 million times. Man Up has become a multi platform cultural phenomenon that’s literally saving lives.
My creative partners on this project were the legendary blokes Gus Worland & Adam Ferrier. There’s also a lovely idea in the end credits.
All ideas come from somewhere & this one sparked from rage.
I heard an interview with the disgraceful Holocaust denier David Irving who said:
“I have scientific proof that Negroes have smaller brains than Caucasians”.
Soon afterwards I got a great Anti-Racism brief & this was my humorous reply to David’s repugnant beliefs. Words are weapons - and ridicule will get under a racist’s skin far more than abuse ever will.
Beer. It’s not all that complicated.
Blokes like to drink the stuff.
So make ‘em laugh - because the more they like you, the more they’ll buy from you.
Typography is everything.
This Hunter S. Thompson quote came from a Playboy Magazine interview - which shows the merits of reading that magazine for the articles! I worked with the legendary designer David Carson on the type.
Of the 30 options he offered, I picked this one.
“Why that one?” he asked.
“Because it looks good” I answered.
David smiled & said: “If it looks good - it is good.”
Great ideas can come from anywhere (Part 1)
Great ideas can come from anywhere.
The Fairfax client took this photo, gave it to me & said: “I reckon there’s an ad in this.”
He was right.
Great ideas can come from anywhere (Part 2)
Using the same method as my client in the previous ad, I found an incredible photo from this location & gave it to my Group Head with a great brief & said: “I reckon there’s an ad in this.”
There sure was.
Read everything you can.
Working on Nike, I read Cathy Freeman’s biography & one line stayed with me:
“I don’t like to speak much. I let my legs do my talking for me.”
Fate is great mate.
I wanted to execute this Halloween ad for Tide Washing Powder with photography, but the client said it would take 9 months of scientific testing to make the product claim.
It ended up turning out way better as illustration. Sometimes fate’s great mate. This was the first ever Proctor & Gamble ad without a headline.
This page from my journal shows how the agency worked around the clock to get a temporary billboard up along the Halloween Night Parade route.
We’re in the business of selling dreams.
It’s not often you get to do a car ad without showing the car.
Alfa have such a beautiful logo I never really minded being told by the client to make it bigger!
Being a creative in Australia is like being a football player - everyone dreams of running out onto Old Trafford & playing for Manchester United.
As young creatives in Sydney Ben Nott & I dreamed of working on Silk Cut at Saatchi & Saatchi London. It’s a 12 beer story, but after presenting over 300 ideas to the Creative Directors our dream came true.
Nothing beats a good product demonstration.
Sometimes an idea actually is life or death.
It was an honour for me to work with the legendary Australian Andrew Denton on his successful personal 20 year crusade to get Voluntary Euthanasia Laws through Parliament.
After suffering for a decade, Lawrie wrote a powerful & eloquent suicide note to his family, which his incredible widow Rebecca allowed us to use. The actor Bryan Brown read Laurie’s last letter, and cried as he did. This was all the more poignant to me as my mother was dying a horrific death at the time, and had asked me for help to end her suffering.
So this one’s for you Mum.
The press ads are deliberately “Old School” as they were targeted at people over 70 years Old who sit & read the newspaper each day.