When the creative director of Rumble Studios approached B&T with the idea of interviewing returned Australian advertising people about their time working overseas, he interviewed himself to illustrate what he hoped to achieve. We simply couldn’t resist the opportunity for a little surrealism.
1. What prompted your return to Australia from New York City?
A year-and-a-half seems a lifetime away. There’s lots of compelling reasons. I came back to start Rumble, with partner, Tone Aston. My wife and I also want to start a family and build our home.
2. What were your first impressions of the market environment here?
Same, same but smaller. Ads here were funny much like the ads there. Both have their own unique flavour. It’s surprisingly conservative over there. Australia has always had a creative edge over the US, but tough economics times can dictate ‘safe’ advertising.
3. What skill sets have you developed OS and how have you been able to apply them here?
Man, they really work you over there. It’s a different ball game delivering a job. We won a 15 second campaign pitch for Twizzler – just the beginning. We were one of three music houses. We pitched more than 20 pieces of music. The agency went through three creative teams and I personally delivered more than 60 revisions before delivering final music. Welcome to the USA.
The skill sets I’ve acquired are paramount. My composition skills improved exponentially writing at that volume. The market is ‘quantity’ AND ‘quality’ so you can’t skimp. Every spot needs to be perfect. It’s the attention to detail that I’ve learnt to apply in Australia, like a Ninja.
4. Was there an adjustment period and how have you acclimatised?
After the first 12 months of depression you settle into a comfortable numbness. Look, I miss it as much as the ex-pat next to me, but Sydney is the best place on the planet. Wouldn’t be anywhere else… except maybe Santorini. If you can work from Santorini, then always choose Santorini.
5. Per capita, this is a small pond. How did you find being the smaller fish OS?
The accent helps. If you do great work then everybody wins. People over there are open to you and open to ideas. If they drunkenly say ‘Call me tomorrow about the thing’ and you don’t call, thinking it’s a long shot, they’ll get upset with you. It’s a friendly city. You never know what opportunities arise from a conversation like that. It’s ‘always’ worth pursuing.
6. Can you compare/contrast the characteristics of the industry in the US and Australia?
The quality of Australian creativity is strong. We are a competing force. There’s no doubt. Our best rivals theirs. The US market has incredible attention to detail. This is something we can learn from them. Even their cheesy ads have perfect casting and amazing set design. They make the most of what they have and they do it very well. Ok maybe not the community cable ads.
Johnny Green is the lead composer and co-owner of Rumble Studios.
His guest this column is himself. His next victim will be Cam Blackley, ECD at BMF.