This article first appeared in LBBOnline
LBB> ANZ has seen a surge in award wins across the major ad festivals. Do you think this is because the work is getting better or is creativity coming out of ANZ getting better traction?
PM> We are a competitive bunch down here and when we see other agencies doing world class work it spurs us on to do the same. In the last two years we have seen some very good work come from both sides of the Tasman and half a dozen agencies leading the way. So it is less about juries taking note of the region, more about a higher volume of better work being created across the board.
LBB> Do you think there has been a positive global shift in the perception of advertising in ANZ?
PM> Within the world of advertising, wins at the major award shows definitely drive creative perceptions of a region or an agency network, but that’s not enough to drive real success in your business. You have to be making work that is not just award winning, but that is also for big brands, solving important problems for clients. There are some great campaigns from various agencies that have won well at award shows but that are for major banks, global fast food brands and breweries. The ANZ region has had a good year in this respect and I think that’s what really drives your creative reputation.
PM> Our regional management team spend a lot of time on the quality of our work and to be honest we have had some big discussions around what constitutes great work over the last year or so. It’s a big focus for us, so to see our agencies doing so well over the last couple of years is no real surprise. Our Aussie agencies drove much of our success last year, but no doubt it was NZ’s year this year. The body of work over the last two years meant that we knew a great year like this was coming.
LBB> Do audiences in ANZ differ?
PM> I don’t think there are that many differences to markets like the US and Britain. Consumers here are experiencing the same trends when it comes to media and technology and the like. It’s harder to reach them, they are more and more apathetic to traditional advertising and creative ideas. It’s why we have to constantly push to give something, in order get something, with our creative ideas. I don’t think this is any different to other developed markets
LBB> Why should rising talent want to work in ANZ?
PM> Well for one don’t come here if you think it is going to be any easier. We work hard, we move quickly and we have clients under great pressure to get results from their marketing spend. Yes you might get some great work up, but so is everyone else. I’d say in many respects it’s harder down here – I’m not selling it very well am I?
LBB> How does the work differ between Australia and New Zealand?
PM> For the main it is pretty similar, but I will say that the agencies in NZ are a little more nimble in general. They also have a quality production industry that is great value, so there is high craft and finish on their ideas for a smaller investment.
LBB> Are there any conflicting needs between the two countries?
PM> At Y&R we work very collaboratively across all the offices. We are helping each other, pushing the work harder, and moving seamlessly across our business. Our clients like the fact they can use the talent across our group in ANZ. We are running our offices as one – so to answer the question, the offices can definitely be run the same way.
LBB> What do you see for the future of advertising and creativity in ANZ?
PM> It’s getting much harder to be successful. Good isn’t good enough. The agencies that keep challenging themselves and that can offer creative thinking to clients in more aspects of their business will continue to be successful. This won’t be focused or limited to a given city, it’s about the agency and their willingness to succeed.
PM> It’s obviously good. There are more global brands coming into the region, and more global retailers, and therefore more investment in marketing is required. The industry is not without challenges, but it is in good shape. As an industry we are pretty good at spotting problems and thinking that what we do isn’t valued as a whole, but really the good agencies are incredibly well valued by clients and this puts them in great shape to dominate.
LBB> What is your favourite ad from ANZ of all time, any why?
PM> I started my career at George Patts, and the Patts DNA still runs thick through our agency today so I’ll get nostalgic here and say VB. It’s an old George Patts ad from 40 years ago and a modern day version of it is still running today. It goes to show when a brand gets into the culture of a place in a powerful way it can endure and operate in any medium it chooses.
LBB> What work or campaign are you most proud of, and why?
PM> I’m pretty proud of the fact that I work with our NZ team – the McWhopper campaign
they produced for Burger King was inspired. They were relentless in getting it done and they built a trusted relationship with their client. I’m pretty proud to say the agency I work at did that campaign.