- Friday, Apr. 13, 2012
- 0 Comments
- LOS ANGELES
Creatives from Australia and New Zealand are settling into the stateside market, offering international perspectives as they take on challenges for American clientele.
While falling short of a trend, suffice it to say that several recent U.S. agency hires have a Down Under pedigree: Cameron Harris, recently named a creative director at Crispin Porter+Bogusky Los Angeles, had been with Leo Burnett Sydney and prior to that Saatchi & Saatchi Auckland, and Clemenger BBDO Melbourne; sr. art director Matthew Knapp and sr. copywriter John Downing have joined DDB New York after serving as a creative team at DDB Sydney; and Australian David Green is slated to join Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago, as executive creative director. Green has been serving as chief creative officer of Saatchi Switzerland; he began his career at Saatchi in New Zealand.
Green will start at Cramer-Krasselt in the summer and report to Marshall Ross, executive VP/chief creative officer. Green will be responsible for overseeing the creative department in Chicago and guiding creative product for such clients as Porsche, Corona Extra, Edward Jones, Heinz and Hilton Hotels International. He will take the exec creative director reins from Kevin Flatt who is shifting into a new position at the agency--sr. VP, digital and design director.
As for New Zealander Harris, he is partnered in the CP+B L.A. office with creative director Robin Fitzgerald, working on the Old Navy account. Since coming aboard, Harris has contributed as co-creative director on Old Navy's "The Best Tee Ever" infomercial and a TV spot for the client featuring Mr. T and Anna Faris. The work has generated more than 2.2 million views on YouTube in just two weeks.
At his prior roost, Leo Burnett Sydney, Harris worked on the Canon and eBay accounts.
SHOOT caught up with Knapp and Downing to get their takes on extending their creative reach into new areas, geographically and otherwise.
While they are new to the U.S. as a sr. art director/sr. copywriter team at DDB New York, Knapp and Downing have the continuity of being within the only agency network they've known professionally. They come over from DDB Sydney where their biggest splash was for the McDonald's "Playland" campaign which scored kudos at the Young Guns, Spikes Asia Awards, London International Awards, New York Festivals and Clio Awards. The creative duo also turned out the "Cup-a-Soup: Soup Cart" campaign which garnered a Bronze Lion at Cannes.
Knapp and Downing's roots at DDB go deep in that upon graduating in the upper tier of their class at Australian Writers and Art Directors School (AWARDS), they were selected for internships at DDB Sydney as part of the agency's Launchpad program. Launchpad organizers immediately paired Knapp and Downing, who hadn't worked together before or for that matter even knew one another during their time at AWARDS.
"I remember that first day [at Launchpad] quite vividly," said Knapp. "We were sitting next to each other and I remember thinking, 'I cannot work with this nerd.' John was probably thinking, 'I cannot work with this jock.' Well, they say opposites attract and that dynamic has worked for us. We've become best of friends over the years. And what we do share is a good sense of humor."
Downing also recalls that same first Launchpad day which he said served as testament to the value of the intern program. "We had a department briefing and there we were sitting amongst creative directors and senior creatives, being briefed on Gatorade across all platforms. To be exposed to that level of campaign the first day and to have your ideas taken as seriously as the others there was amazing. Launchpad is a program that contributes to your growth."
Indeed Knapp and Downing grew at DDB Sydney, graduating to being a full-fledged creative team on brands ranging from McDonald's to Telstra, Tourism Australia, Lipton, Arnott's, Volkswagen and Hasbro, among others.
After five years there, they now find themselves at DDB New York working on such accounts as Hertz and the New York Lottery. Knapp said of the U.S. market, "It's the birthplace of modern advertising. to get over here, to have the accessibility to big clients, to do great creative work and to collaborate with the best in the business spanning production and photography has always been a goal."
As for what they can bring to American advertising based on their experience in Australia, Downing observed that with smaller budgets being the norm Down Under, there's "a forced resourcefulness, you have to be more creative and that can only help us here."
Downing and Knapp aren't the only imports from DDB Sydney. The aforementioned Launchpad program was created by DDB Sydney and later expanded to the agency's offices in Melbourne and Auckland. The talent development program has since spread to the New York office as it continues to bridge the gap between classroom education and hands-on application, helping budding creatives, such as Knapp and Downing, to differentiate themselves within the competitive advertising industry.
Both Downing and Knapp are glad to see Launchpad's reach grow. They noted that this expansion goes beyond geography. "When we started, it [Launchpad] was for art directors and writers," noted Knapp. "Now we're seeing young designers, motion graphics artists and other different proficiencies represented."