Despite claiming he was an “average planner at best”, Ben Phillips drew praise from his colleagues and clients and was selected by a panel of judges in 2010 to become one of B&T’s first ever 30 Under 30.
These days he’s based in New York City where he leads strategy for Budweiser globally. Like many others profiled in this series, Ben advises young talent to take advantage of the enormous global opportunities that exist today.
This year’s 30 Under 30 entries close one week today! So make sure you’re polishing off your entry this weekend.
In the meantime, check out our chat with Ben below!
Then: senior planner, Euro RSCG
Now: strategy director (Budweiser global), Anomaly NYC
Aged 27, Ben Phillips was already lecturing for ADMA and AMSRS courses and running training seminars for Euro RSCG staff and clients. A stunning career trajectory allowed Phillips to become an authority on his craft at an early age, having handled everything from Jacob’s Creek global digital strategy to developing a pitch-winning campaign for Clearasil that challenged the “rampant” manipulation of images on social networks.
Former colleague Dominque Hind, now founder & COO at WiTH Collective said, “Ben has one of the most curious and restless minds I’ve come across.
“He is constantly pushing and striving for new ideas and ways to connect with consumers. His thinking is always packaged up so it captivates you from the first word.”
Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Anthony Gregorio said back in 2010, “Ben is a star. I certainly wish I was as smart, as switched on and as well paid when I was his age. His strengths are many and varied. He’s passionate about the new world order of digital and importantly he turns that passion into evangelism of the most useable kind.
“Clients and staff gravitate towards him because he’s interested and interesting. He maintains a child-like naivety to learning and understanding his craft.”
What did it mean to you at the ripe age of 27 that you were chosen as one of B&T’s 30 Under 30?
I remember being flattered. I completely didn’t deserve it. In hindsight, I was an average planner at best and had done very little of any significance!
How do you think being nominated affected your career, if at all?
It’s hard to say. It’s always had a place on my CV but (I mean this is in the nicest possible way) it probably holds more sway locally than it does internationally.
What’s been the biggest change to your life since then?
Working and living away from Australia. I moved to London shortly after the list came out. I lived there for about seven years, was lucky enough to meet my fiancée, then we both moved to New York about a year ago. I worked in Paris a bit too.
What words of wisdom would you have shared with your 27-year-old self back then knowing what you do now?
The 36-year-old me would tell the 27-year-old me, “No matter how much you work on your kickflips, they aren’t going to get any better.”
What are you most proud of?
My father was always proud of what I was doing and was interested in the projects I was working on. He passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in October last year. We’re still trying to come to terms with it, but knowing that he was proud of us (my brother and me) helps.
What do you see as the biggest challenges that face young people in advertising, marketing and media these days?
This isn’t the biggest, but I’ve been thinking about it recently. Advertising can be an inward facing industry, often to its own detriment. So I’d say the challenge is not to get too sucked up in that.
Conversely, what’s the biggest opportunity for those under 30 now?
There’s more opportunity than ever before to work with, and learn from, incredible people all around the world. Get out there.
What can the industry do better to attract and retain young talent?
Maybe reiterate that working with ideas day to day is an enormous privilege? We usually take it for granted.
Entries for B&T‘s 30 Under 30 Awards for 2019 close 1 week today people! For all the details and to submit your entry, click here. Tickets are also available for B&T Bootcamp, a day of speed mentoring and masterclasses aimed at up and comers in the industry.