If he did adult films, his name would be Hamish Parsonage. And will often be found with a beer in hand as soon as the hour of socially-acceptable-drinking time ticks over. We chat with Steve Mair, digital creative director at Queensland agency BCM.
What’s your backstory? (The non-LinkedIn one)
I was born on the 28th of Augu… Oh. Sorry. Not that far back. My unhealthy obsession with advertising started straight after school. The neon glow of the most creative square mile in the world drew me in. Soho. Both my creative muse, mistress and a gutter to rest my head. I couldn’t get enough. It was intoxicating. By the late 90’s I was seduced by the new frontier of digital. I studied at London College of Communication. It was rather pointless, the industry was moving too fast for traditional education, so I taught myself how to design for the internet. Next came something I hadn’t expected. I met a girl. She told me she was from Australia. We hooked up (we are now married with two maniacal kids!). My love affair with Soho came to an end. Dear Soho, our time together was both sweet and sour, I’ll see you again sometime. Australia was a new opportunity. The digital space was exploding and my travels led me to BCM where I am now the Digital CD and ridiculously excited about what each day brings in the digital space and how we can use it to connect with the most emotional of species. People.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
Do you know what, unless it’s competing for a place in the Arsenal midfield, I really couldn’t think of anything else I’d want to do. I love seeing an industry of very clever folk solving business and social problems big and small. Cop out. Sorry.
What’s your ultimate career goal?
To compete for a place in the Arsenal midfield.
Favourite piece of work you’ve done/worked on?
Really too many to count. It’s like being asked if you like your mum or your dad better. All I will say, is working with forward-thinking clients, who are as excited as we are about pushing boundaries results in work that everyone is excited to be a part of. If you pushed me for one, our recent VR project with the Queensland University of Technology was a standout.
What’s been your most challenging career moment?
Wondering what the Land of Oz held for me when I left my beloved Soho. Moving from the capital of everything, to Brisbane, which in 2004 was perceived as a big country town. I shouldn’t have worried, Brissy has been good to me and it is evolving nicely towards the creative powerhouse that it always had the potential to do.
What would you change about the industry?
That’s tough. There are many, many things that I think would make our industry a better place. Some more than likely not publishable! One thing I will say is that our industry moves at such pace, in particular technology and there is sometimes the tendency to let technology drive the idea. It’s wrong on so many levels. Ideas come from insights, understanding who the consumer and the blood sweat and tears of a creative mind. Technology is part of the equation, it enables us to deliver these ideas in a clever, creative, new or engaging way, but it is not the idea per se. Perhaps we should have our own formula. That way people might stop f-ing with it. (I + U + C) x T = Idea
What piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Less gutter, more code. My coding skills are in the region of little to f-all. I’m glad to see it is firmly on the federal (and opposition) government’s agenda for all our kids to be able to code. By god, if our kids are going to learn a language, let it be code – it’s easily as sexy as French!
What’s your quirkiest attribute?
I often find myself in my own little musical, it’s called Steve: Sing it while you wing it!
If you could be Prime Minister for a week, what would you do?
Install a boxing ring for use during question time. Might as well add to the entertainment, because very little else comes out of those sessions. Oh, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to take a punt on the winner. Would be un-Australian not to.
What’s your favourite kind of cheese?
How long have you got…
Tea or coffee?
Depends on the hour of the day, and whether it’s socially acceptable to be drinking a beer at that point or not.