There were a lot of wonderfully talented people handed large glass gongs for their work at last Thursday’s B&T 30 Under 30 Awards. And to continue the celebrations we want our audience to meet the young guns from each section of the industry.
Below we have the five creative individuals who nabbed a coveted B&T 30 Under 30 Award for their work in advertising and design. Coming up across the week will be everyone else. See all the winners here and photos here, and check out some little titbits about the ad/design guns below, posing for a celebratory photo with Ashley Sheard, sales director from News Corp and one of our lovely sponsors.
Archana Murugaser – Copywriter at The Monkeys
Archana has never met another Sri Lankan woman working in adland in her seven years within the creative industry. “I know I’m under-represented in most creative departments around Australia,” she says, but stresses this is what keeps her from taking her career for granted. As a young girl at 12 she saw the struggles her mother went through trying to find work in the industry, despite her being a successful copywriter back in Sri Lanka.
It’s made Archana even more determined to succeed. And succeed she has! After falling into advertising at uni, she embarked on three internships with big name companies; JWT, DDB and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Her first grown up job was at creative agency Us Sydney in 2010. She was involved with creating a Nike running event for women, a brand relaunch and came runner up in the Australian Young Lions competition.
She then moved to Bashful where she won her first AWARD, APMA and Spikes awards. During this time she also created the work she’s most proud of – a sculpture that was selected for Sydney’s coastal art exhibition, Sculpture by the Sea. From there Arnold Furnace called her name, before moving to Havas and winning employee of the year.
Now she’s at The Monkeys, the agency she’s wanted to work for since she started. It’s only a few months in, but already she’s got an international print campaign under her belt and two more brand projects.
Tara Shelton – founder at Dream & Do
It was 2012 and Tara wanted to create gifts for girls, made by girls, minus the cheese factor of inspirational messages. She founded her first company, a beautiful hanky brand called Moi Self. Her hankies were featured in InStyle, Vogue and Hello May, and hanky stocks in New York and Hong Know, Tara’s design and creativity was highly recognised with an incredible win of Young Designer of the Year.
But one company wasn’t enough for Tara. Just under two years ago, she founded her second business, a design and branding agency called Dream & Do in Sydney. It’s clear Tara has creativity bursting out her every pore. And creativity is what she says every business needs. Ideally, Dream & Do will move beyond an agency and into a creative space with a café and bookshop attached.
One downside in the design industry though, she says, is the lack of originality. “A lot of designers out there simply provide aesthetic answers that are on-trend to briefs rather than strong thinking, design and creativity. There’s a lot of talking design lingo and pulling the wool over clients’ eyes, which is an inauthentic way to do business. We try to break down those barriers.”
With a new little bub gracing her apartment the notion of finding balance between work life and home life is becoming much more apparent to Tara. And when asked to describe her attributes in no more than five words, she said: “Passionate, creative, dedicated, positive, authentic.”
John Marshall – senior account director at Ogilvy & Mather
John has won the David Ogilvy award (best employee of the year) twice. That’s more than a many can say. In less than five years he’s transitioned from just graduating from university to group account director.
It didn’t take long for Ogilvy to snaffle up John when traversed the ditch from New Zealand.
After just five days in our fine country, and a year of account coordinating at GSL Network and full-time study in New Zealand, he was offered a job at Ogilvy & Mather to work on the agency’s St George business.
A mere six months later – and with the client’s strong endorsement – he was promoted to senior account manager. Then, in November 2013, he was made account director to lead the agency’s blue-chip account, Coca-Cola. Leading the biggest and most creative piece of business in the Ogilvy portfolio is where he excelled, helping to develop world-class campaigns that won numerous awards.
After 18 months he was asked to lead the newly won Lion business as a senior account director. The agency’s first task was a brand relaunch for Hahn SuperDry, and the subsequent ‘Experience Collectors’ platform helped drive strong sales growth in a declining category. Now he leads the agency’s Lion and Seafolly accounts.
Leadership to John is not about being front and centre or craving the spotlight. Rather it’s having the courage, conviction and confidence to build your team up, so that each one of them can make the right call at the right time, even if you are not present in the room.
“A great leader is authentic, compassionate and has a strong value base that he or she never waivers from,” he says, “even during intense adversity. I hold all these principles very close to me, and work hard on a daily basis to ensure that I continue to live up to them.”
Craig Adams – strategy director at Naked Communications
Despite the agency’s name, we assume Craig always comes to work fully clothed. He has been at creative agency Naked most of his industry life, having started at the British version before transitioning to the Sydney office.
Beginning ad life in London as a junior strategist in 2008, Craig soon displayed the full force of his talent and jumped to communications manager before launching a sustainability marketing division within the agency called Naked Planets. He also lectured at the London College of Communications and the School of Communications Arts in 2010-11 on opportunities for advertising in solving environmental challenges.
When he was recruited to the Sydney office in 2013 he broadened his skills as a campaign strategist and was promoted in 2015 to strategy director at just the mere young age of 28.
Still, it’s not just his work that sees his unwavering dedication. Craig also launched the Sydney chapter of Good for Nothing, a global movement of creative people who volunteer their skills to local social enterprises. Launching in 2014, the movement has amassed 233 volunteers, run four events and helped seven causes.
And in his eyes what needs to be improved in our industry? “Our future. Currently, I fear, we don’t have a very good one.
“Advertising agencies need to rebuild their reputation as the best problem solvers to turn to for advice and solutions. The ones that are truly in touch with people, and fiercely up to date with the nature of their relationship with media, brands and each other. The ones that are worth the money to engage.”
Looking at the change the advertising industry has experienced in just the past ten years, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the next five years will hold even more disruption, he says. “Bring it on.”
Madeleine Livesey – project director at The General Store
Starting out a lawyer doesn’t usually present the ultimate advertising talent – but that’s exactly what happened to Madeleine.
She studied a double degree in Law and Communications at UTS in Sydney and worked as a lawyer at Gilbert + Tobin in Intellectual Property and Mergers and Acquisitions. Her most memorable case was a copyright suit over pornographic DVDs, which required Madeleine to work late into the nights labelling ‘evidence’ by summarising the titles of the DVDs down to names that wouldn’t make the judge blush. “Funnily enough, I could never quite shake the feeling that the career path I was heading down wasn’t the right one for me.”
Luckily her marketing break finally came. A start up retail strategy and creative agency called The General Store was looking to hire their first employee, a Project Director. Madeleine took a chance on The General Store and The General Store took a chance on her. This leap of faith was a major turning point in her career, and her life.
Her boss, Matt Newell, said she’ll make a smashing future leader because she cares, she is respected and she’s a good teacher.
“It’s easy for a young person to take a role in a big agency, surrounded by the safety nets of existing process and systems,” he says. “But Maddie has taken the harder path of joining a start-up agency that is trying to define new ways of working and ways of delivering on big promises. Here, she is playing a pivotal role in building a business out of nothing. And every award that we have won, is largely because of what Maddie has delivered.”
When asked to describe her attributes in five words or less, she says: “Tenacious, energetic, inquisitive, supportive.”
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It's even more photos from Thursday's 30 Under 30! Re-live all the action, the bad dancing and the stodgy paella here.