Creative Minds: Rob Morrison | Publicity

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Welcome to Creative Minds, where we get to know APAC creatives through their answers to 11 questions. The first three are mandatory, but the subject chooses the rest from a list of almost 40 that we have compiled, from serious to silly. Want to be introduced? Contact us and we will send you the list of questions. (Why 11 questions? Because any old Q&A format can ask 10 questions. But this one goes to 11.)

Last name: Rob morrison

Origin: Cootamundra (a small town in rural Australia)

Places lived / worked: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Vancouver (Canada), Cheltenham (United Kingdom)

Pronouns: He / him (“But call me Rob”)

CV:

  • Morrison Creative (Sydney), Owner and Creative Director (2019-present)

  • Ogilvy (Brisbane), interim ECD (2018)

  • Ogilvy (Sydney), Creative Director (2012-2018)

  • Belgiovane Williams Mackay (Sydney), Creative Director (2008-2011)

  • George Patterson Y&R (Sydney), Creative Director, (2007-2008)

  • The Campaign Palace (Sydney), Integrated Creative Director (2006)

  • Wunderman (Sydney), National Creative Director (2003-2005)

  • George Patterson Bates (Melbourne), Creative Director (2001-2003)

  • George Patterson Bates (Sydney), Creative Director (1996-2001)

  • Brann Direct (Cheltenham UK), senior editor (1994-1995)

  • Direct Mail Store by John Friesen (Vancouver), copywriter (1992-1993)

  • Police Credit Union (Sydney), Marketing Officer (1991-1992)

  • OTC (Sydney), marketing graduate (1989-1990)

1. How did you become a creative?

I wrote to all the agencies in Sydney when I graduated from college — desperate to work in Adland. Unfortunately, the economy (and industry) had just taken a hard hit. Agencies are laying off people, not hiring. So I accepted the first marketing job that was offered to me, in an international telecommunications company. During the two years I was there, I did Award School (a creative right of passage in Australia). When I moved to the marketing department of a Credit Union, I had the chance to build a portfolio. Eighteen months later, I backpacked to Vancouver, where I met John Friesen, a creative director who taught me how to drive sales, not just write smart ads. By the time I arrived at Brann in the UK, I felt like I could legitimately call myself creative.

2. What is your favorite work in your portfolio?

It’s like choosing a favorite child. Every piece of work I’ve ever done contains a little piece of me (in fact, some have big pieces). If I had to pick just one, it would be “Outthink Melanoma” for IBM. It was the end of IBM’s five-year operation, where we had strived to do a better and better job. The project itself almost died a dozen times, including the night we launched. Plus, as a melanoma survivor, I literally had skin in the game (pun intended).

3. What is your favorite work created by someone else?

A few years ago an ADMA Creative School student asked me this question. As a homeroom teacher, I had shown the class hundreds of amazing examples. I think they expected my answer to be a big budget TVC or an online campaign. But my answer was radio, especially Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius”. More than 200 places over five years. All beautifully written. All perfectly done. And 100% related to the genius of having a low calorie beer that tastes great.

I could have chosen 50, but here is my top 5:

4. What is your guilty pleasure?

I am obsessed with my soccer team – part # 1 is in the photo above. In 1999 my South Sydney Rabbitohs were illegally ejected from National Rugby League competition. In response, 80,000 of us marched through Town Hall, raised funds for lawyers, and generally kept the dream alive. It took two years, but we got them back. In 2014, they won the trophy. Much to my wife’s chagrin, my journal is still organized around Rabbitohs games.

5. What’s on your bucket list?

I still want to live and work in Asia. I’ve worked in Europe, North America, and here in Australia — it’s the only place that’s left on my list. The plan was to look for the right opportunity in 2020 but clearly Covid stepped in. I find the work, the cultural differences and the people fascinating.

6. Who / who are your main creative influences?

I am always fascinated by people. Everybody. Why are they doing what they are doing? What drives them to choose one product over another? One brand rather than another? Why do they read, watch and interact with some content and not others? I like to try to walk in their shoes and help solve what is troubling them.

7. What kind of student were you?

Oddly, I was the math and science kid. I liked subjects with a right and wrong answer and struggled with the more “contextual” humanities subjects. I often joke with my Grade 10 English teacher who would be horrified that my job is to string together sentences. My creative outlet was to act – I have performed in over a dozen plays.

8. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I jumped out of a plane with a WWII parachute. A bunch of my college mates challenged themselves to do a parachute jump but, being bad students, we found the cheapest option available. I will never forget a friend of mine landing in a herd of cows that got lost in the drop zone. Fun but stupid.

9. Do you have a slogan?

When I first joined Ogilvy, I wrote an article on thought leadership on B2B advertising. At the time, the Australian B2B was dominated by a rational monotony and heavy copying. It was a huge missed opportunity. The truth is, consumers don’t change their personalities when they’re done with their jobs. They are the same people. Exactly the same. So why do we treat them differently? The title of my article has often been quoted to me: “Business people are people too. It’s as close as I have been to a slogan.

10. Tell us about a charity or cause that you think deserves more attention.

There is an underfunded and underrated Australian charity that I love. They train school children to help other children in the playground. The goal is to spot anyone sitting alone, who might be in difficulty, alone or simply disconnected. Trained children wear a yellow bracelet printed with the name of the charity. Five little words that could save a little life: You Can Sit With Me.

11. Do you have recurring dreams?

I have a weird metabolism, which means whenever I’m sick I have dangerously high fevers, that’s when my recurring dream comes in. In it, I walk in a field, picking daisies on a bright sunny day. Every time I pluck a flower, a boulder rumbles on the surface to replace the daisy. Sometimes the rock is tiny. Sometimes it’s massive. I am overwhelmed with the fear of destroying the beautiful field, but I cannot stop picking flowers. Then I wake up. Clearly, I have problems.

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