Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your current role.
My name is Scott Huebscher. I’m the ECD of 303 MullenLowe in Sydney. And as of Monday the 27th of January – I will have been an Australian for exactly one year. My family and I went through the citizenship ceremony on Australia Day last year.
Australia is a hotspot for creativity and is consistently one of the most-awarded countries. Who or what inspired you to get into advertising and marketing communications?
There are several moments and people that inspired me to get into advertising – but what opened my eyes to this part of the world was seeing Carlton’s “Big Ad” while sitting in my office in a small agency in Los Angeles. I remember watching it at my desk and it served as a sort of wake-up call. I remember thinking “Oh, so this is what good advertising looks like.” I didn’t really realize work like that was even possible.
In your opinion, what are the key differences between Australia and other countries within the industry?
I have been fortunate to work in the US, New Zealand and Australia. There are a lot of differences and they are all related to the sheer scale of the US. 330+ million in the US – compared to 25 million in Australia and 4 million in NZ. That’s roughly 7% and 1% respectively of the US population… that’s insane!
How does this manifest itself? Well, in the US, there are usually a lot more layers of approvals and people and accountants and lawyers and focus groups since there is so much at stake. But all those extra people inevitably mean that there are more opinions that have a say on what ultimately gets made, which is never a good thing. Also, it seemed as if there was a sense that marketers didn’t want their advertising to get noticed… as if it was a bad thing that their ad was in the news or on social media, because someone might see it and comment negatively on it. I’ve always subscribed to the belief that if someone doesn’t hate your ad, then no one is going to love it either. That’s a tough thing to argue in the US sometimes – because there are simply 300+ million more people available to potentially hate it. And right now in the States, there are a lot of people that hate a lot of things and are very proudly vocal about it.
What are your favorite Australian ad campaigns or brand activations and why?
Too many to list. Australia used to have the best beer/alcohol advertising in the world… like I mentioned before Carlton’s “Big Ad” and “Beer Chase” are both amazing, Hahn’s “Super Goes in, Super Comes Out”, Toohey’s “Nocturnal Migration”, Boag’s “Pure Waters”, the Pure Blonde ad when the guy opens the beer with a dove, the list goes on and on – and those are just the beer ads that I have seen in my relatively brief time here of nine years. As for why they’re my favorite, it’s simple: because the ads were fun. They were made to get noticed, to entertain, to give you and your mates a laugh – they were not made to tell people about the low sugar content or the special brewing process or explaining how the beer is relatable to me and my life. Unfortunately, no other category’s advertising in Australia has changed more in the last 10 years.
Which brands in Australia are considered aspirational or leading-edge in terms of their products and their marketing?
Two come to mind. I love how Aldi consistently does interesting, smart work that is reflective of the “Good Different” end line. Even when they have something simple and straightforward to communicate, they do it with their interesting and unique tone of voice – across all media channels.
The other brand that stays on the front foot with their marketing is Budget Direct Insurance, who luckily for me, is one of my clients. Budget Direct are consistently looking for new ways to make entertaining comms that make people stop and take notice. The “Insurance Solved” campaign directed by Danny Kleinman has used fire-breathing dragons, UFOs, house-sized spiders and giant robot aliens to illustrate a simple point: no matter what crazy things are happening, Budget Direct could save you hundreds on your insurance.
What do you think Australians can teach ad folk in other countries?
This was the hardest question because we are all in the same boat, trying to make interesting work that will be different, stand out and motivate our consumers to act. But if I had to choose one thing? Slow down.
Last, please share your favorite hidden gem in your city, either your adopted city or your home.
A hidden gem? Lots of options for amazing food and wine in Sydney. But the fact that you can drive an hour from downtown and be in the middle of the bush with a fly rod and a backpack… now that’s a beautiful thing.