To celebrate young Aussie talent in adland, B&T has embarked on a series where we chat to creatives working at some of the world’s most prolific advertising agencies in New York City.
Speaking with a new up-and-comer each week, B&T asks Aussie expats everything from their favourite clients to more pressing questions such as how often they’re asked to “put shrimp on the barbie”.
It’s time to meet some of the industry’s brightest.
Last time we spoke with Anomaly’s Ben Yabsley, this week we put Havas Formula VP Natasha Carroll head (pictured above) on the chopping block.
Time in NYC?
Two years, three months.
What have been the biggest learnings moving to NYC?
Moving to a new country, a new city, a new agency, I’ve really learnt to trust myself.
When you’re thrown into a completely new environment, you are challenged in so many different ways and you get stronger and more confident with each hurdle you overcome one.
When things are going well, it’s often easy to think you got lucky, but it’s a fantastic feeling when you realize that it’s you and your hard work that got you here.
What has taken you by surprise about the city?
That two years wasn’t enough!
When I accepted the role to move to NY, I thought I would be over for two years with the E3 visa to gain U.S. experience and come home.
But I’ve just come back from renewing my visa in so I’ll be here for another two – at least!
How do American and Australian adlands differ?
In the U.S., there is more of division between personal and professional life as most people tend to keep these more separate than we do back home.
The Aussie ad culture is a little more relaxed which means a lot of colleagues turn into workmates, late work nights turns into dinner and drinks, and Fridays are often marked by a pub lunch.
And the scale! Everything in the U.S. is bigger from the size of the market and opportunities for your clients, the resource and budgets, your coffees and sandwiches to the building you work in.
How are they similar?
Fundamentals of agency operations are the same. Account management, client service, new business and people management.
If you excel at these in Australia, they will be the key to set you up for success here.
How is the creative process (both in ideation and execution) different to Australia’s?
In both Sydney and New York, I’ve worked within the Havas Village, which is our group’s strategy to bring Creative, Media, PR and Digital together and have always loved this integrated way of working.
The main difference here is size – it’s bigger and this has its positives and negatives.
For new business opportunities, you can tap into more creative resources and different expertise across the group.
On the flip side, because there are more people it can be much harder to find the right team or person you need to progress an opportunity.
How much bigger are the budgets?
Bigger! And it’s been a great learning managing the resource and expenses that support these larger accounts.
In Australia, the average size of a retainer account would be approximately $20,000 per month but here that is really the minimum for PR programs.
What has been the biggest benefit of moving?
Outside of the scale, the U.S. is a key market for global brands and we are often one of the first countries to launch a new product to consumers.
Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to work events and announcements that have changed a category and set the tone for other market activities around the world.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Moving from an agency where everyone knew me to somewhere where I had to start from scratch and build credibility to gain the trust of my colleagues and clients.
I knew this would be tough as I’d been with the same agency for 7+ years and will never forget when leaving Sydney one of the girls in my team wrote me a note reassuring me that while it wouldn’t happen immediately soon my NY team would rely on me for support just like she did.
Moving is definitely a personal challenge but it would be a lot harder without the support of your friends, family and old colleagues from back home!
Roughly how many times a week do you get asked if you’d like to put a shrimp on the barbie?
But I do get asked if I’m from London about once a week!
Do you ever find yourself pigeon-holed into the ‘Aussie expat’ basket or is it fairly easy to carve out your own identity?
I think being an Aussie expat is an important part of my personal and professional identity.
Australians are hard-working, friendly and honest and I think these are all values that can bring a lot to a workplace.
Outside of work yes I do have a lot of Australian friends, and yes we eat Avo Toast and drink Flat Whites, but your network quickly expands as New York has such a global culture.
What has been your favourite project so far?
I head up the Jaguar Land Rover account here and working on the major Auto Shows has been an incredible experience.
We work hand in hand with the global and local PR teams to deliver multiple events throughout the week.
It’s incredible to see the scale of this world-class PR team come together to deliver a huge amount of activity and results.
Who is your favourite client?
Jaguar Land Rover –per the above I’m slightly biased.
What is your favourite ad of all time?
Of all time is a tough ask. This last year, I really loved the Lacoste Save our Species campaign. Newsworthy, cute, clever and all for a good-cause.
What’s not to love? Check it out here.