Marketing Mavericks: Westpac’s Jenny Melhuish

Marketing Mavericks: Westpac’s Jenny Melhuish

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Marketing Mavericks was a supplement in the latest mag, featuring some of Australia’s most daring and bold marketers. Today, we’re bringing you Westpac head of brand, advertising and media, Jenny Melhuish.

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From humble beginnings as a marketing coordinator at Valtech UK, to now heading up Westpac’s brand, advertising and media division, no-one can deny Jenny Melhuish’s maverick status. Spending a chunk of her career at Westpac, with a couple of stints at St George Bank while also juggling mum-life, Jenny’s motto is don’t show up to prove, show up to improve.

When I was 10, I actually really wanted to be a florist, but when I found it’s a 3am wake-up call, I switched to a criminal lawyer. And now, I’ve ended up in marketing and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

A brand that’s not mine, but I love is John Lewis – the work is amazing and I always look forward to its Christmas ads each year, knowing how difficult it is to drive and continue to invest in long-term brand building. They had to start somewhere and they have earned permission to continue. John Lewis also produced one of my favourite ads of all time. While it might be a little cliche, the 2011 ad ‘“For Gifts You Can’t Wait To Give” is a favourite of mine. It’s an easy script for a brand to buy and to execute poorly, but they nailed it. They were brave and indulged in quality production and length for such a simple spot, but it works. I cry every time!

My best tip for marketing graduates? I have a few. You can’t  know everything – no-one does, and the minute you think you do, you stop learning. If you think you are the smartest person in the room – you need to find a new room to hang out in. Another tip is EQ will always trump IQ – learn to read rooms, watch and listen with both ears. And remember: not everyone will like what you do. That’s ok, and in fact I think it’s important to work towards – spray and pray mass marketing is easy. Over my career, one thing I’ve learned is being brave is always worthwhile. I’d rather say ‘whoops’ than ‘what if?’ 

Some of my best days have been working on brands I love. Launching Westpac’s epic ‘Help’ ad in 2018 was definitely one of those times – after months and months of hard work, sleepless nights and quite a bit of bravery, it was truly awesome to see how people engaged with it, and the positive effect it had on our brand.

All-time favourite hero?

Shane Warne. I’m obsessed.


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