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Opinion and Insight
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A Walkabout Round Australasia’s Other Creative Hubs

LBB Editorial, 5 months, 1 week ago

We all know that Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland are ad powerhouses, but what about the region’s smaller hotspots?

A Walkabout Round Australasia’s Other Creative Hubs

It’s fair to say that advertising in Australia and New Zealand is mostly focused around three cities: Sydney and Melbourne in Aus, Auckland in New Zealand. But when chatting to ad folk from outside these cities – from Perth, Christchurch, Brisbane, etc. – one thing became immediately clear. Creativity is flourishing in all corners of the Antipodean world. LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with numerous locals to find out why.  



PERTH, AUSTRALIA

Photo credit: Greg O'Beirne

Mark Braddock, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Block
"Creatively speaking, Perth is a city’s that’s time has come.
 
"We were once a place that nascent creative natives ran from as soon as they were old enough. Now, while our wanderlust will always be an inherent part of our makeup, young creatives are choosing to travel and return to a city which feels full of possibility.
 
"We no longer have a “wait for them to come and ask” attitude. It has been replaced with a “let’s do it and they shall come” mentality which makes for an incredibility virulent culture of grassroots creativity.
 
"On a business level, things remain a little more challenging. Very few consumer brands are based in this mining-centric town, so there tends to be fewer CEOs and Marketing Managers who understand the importance of creativity and the intangible in growing meaningful businesses.
 
"So local agencies must jump on the few opportunities that present themselves at this level. That’s been happening as the quality of the craft in commercial communications has risen over the last decade. A smaller creative community aids in this as we are tight-knit and collaboration has always been part of how we work.
 
"Overall, the view from the west is pretty bright."

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND

Photo credit: P. Stalder

Geoff Cranko, Group Managing Partner, Strategy
"No other city has had the opportunity to reinvent itself like Christchurch. Five years post-earthquake, we have arrived at the sweet spot where new cafés, galleries, shops and workplaces are popping up on a daily basis. There is a sense of discovery around the city, with many organisations taking the opportunity to renew and strengthen their identities. 

"At Strategy Design & Advertising we’ve always poured our hearts and souls into Christchurch. Since 1992 we’ve been developing world-class creative that lifts the image of the city and its many businesses and brands. In the last year we’ve developed eye-catching cultural brands including the Centre of Contemporary Art, TEDxChristchurch and the Christchurch City Choir. We’ve also enabled a wide range of businesses and organisations achieve their objectives through highly crafted and strategic communication solutions.

"Part of our goal in creating outstanding work is to attract talented people from outside the region. By welcoming designers from around New Zealand and the world we can help inject fresh energy into the wider community.

"Christchurch – a city being reborn – is at an utterly unique point in time. We are proud to be contributing to the new face of the city through our thinking, craft and culture."

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND


Photo credit: Kristina D.C. Hoeppner

Tim Ellis, Managing Director, Y&R Wellington
"As well as being NZ’s capital city, Wellington is also the country’s creative capital. Littered with innovators in business, film, retail and fashion, Wellington attracts those with a flair for trying new stuff and taking a few risks.

"Maybe it’s because the city is smaller and the risks are a bit smaller. Or maybe it’s because the city’s a bit smaller and it’s easy to do ‘business’ that there is little risk. 

"Thanks to our beautifully hilly geography, Wellington is a compact city that funnels people together. It encourages interaction, collaboration, the sharing of ideas. And with that come ideas, wonderful ideas. Ideas discussed over coffee, or craft beer, ideas yelled over the wind, or debated over dinner.

"It’s either all of that, or it’s the fact that we have heaps of art students cruising round with beards and brains that makes Wellington look creative. I like the first option."

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

Photo credit: Brisbane City Council

Andrew Thompson and Brendan Greaney, Executive Creative Directors, Y&R Group Brisbane
Brisbane used to be ironically termed BrisVegas because all the lights used to go out at about 8pm. Fortunately for us all, the city has grown in both culture and creativity since those dark days.

In recent times, agencies in town have been regularly picking up prizes at Cannes, and regularly competing on the world-stage. There's a bunch of great start-up companies, including Halfbrick Studios, the creators of the second-most downloaded app ever - Fruit Ninja. And the guys at BlackMilk Clothing have created one of the world's biggest online fashion retailers from right here in Brisbane - the only LucasFilm approved leggings in the world!

We reckon that's what makes Brisbane different. It's easier to build stuff up from the ground, and use a bit of that underdog attitude to make it happen. It feels like we've all got something to prove.

There's also much more of a tight-knit creative community than the bigger states down south - we have no trouble getting designers/photographers/developers to go the extra mile on projects that demonstrate some world-class thinking. 

Fortunately, we've also got a lot more late-night drinking spots available, which helps with our creative output enormously too.

Rob Kent, Managing Director, Publicis Brisbane
"Brisbane, with its hot, humid and still climate, has an incubator effect on its inhabitants. It is a city that is blooming creatively, with a subversive live music culture, scores of unorthodox fashion labels and a healthy street art scene. Commercially, the creative scene is just as strong; Brisbane has a level of work that is at odds with its small size. The best known examples include the Fruit Ninja apps from Halfbrick Studios, and tourism campaign the Best Job in the World, but there is a lot more going on.
 
"As Andy Ward, creative director of Brisbane’s Publicis Mojo puts it: ‘There really is some great work being done here. And as a pom, I know there’s nowhere quite like Brissy; it’s got the energy and attitude of a young city, and the skills of an established market.’"

Marianne Harvey, Creative Director, Clemenger BBDO Brisbane
"I think the key to creativity in Brisbane is that we’re easy-going types. And when you take ego out of the equation, it makes for open and exciting collaborations. It’s less about whose idea it is, but more about what cool stuff can we do together. Maybe it’s the sub-tropical climate that influences our disposition; maybe we just don’t take ourselves so seriously.
 
"Maybe it’s our size that promotes our sense of community. We’re a tightknit group and we do support the success of Brisbane advertising as a whole, as well as individual success.
 
"We’ve also been inspired by the creativity around us. A thriving music scene, a Gallery of Modern Art that is making itself known globally, as well as talented innovators in the worlds of fashion, food and architecture. 
 
"Overall, people who call Brisbane home have generally gone and experienced the world, then brought back with them a broader perspective and a belief that world-class work can come from anywhere."

Colin Renshaw, VFX Supervisor and Founder, Alt.vfx
"The founders of Alt.vfx met and lived in Brisbane. While we had all individually cut our teeth in the better known capital cities of the world, we all chose Brisbane as the place we wanted to live with our families. Its a beautiful, liveable city and we felt so confidant in what we offered that we decided to do what made us happy and let the clients come to us. Luckily they did.

"While Alt began in Brisbane, we have now have a fantastic team in Sydney and they feel as passionate about Sydney as the original founding members feel about Brisbane. Our belief has always been about bringing the work to where the artists want to be and they will make great things. We have spent a lot of money on infrastructure to make this a seamless reality."