Category Archives: AdSpeaks

AdSpeaks is a series of talks from high-ranking industry professionals for the advertising students at Macleay College. The talks take regularly throughout each trimester on Mondays from 10.00am – 11.30pm. Industry and public are welcome, but must register with

“Ad Agency” – What Does That Even Mean?

Amanda Florence writes about Macleay’s first AdSpeaks for 2015 with Andy Wright, one of the founders of ‘For The People‘. Andy posed the question, “What would an agency model look like if you could start from scratch?”


Specialising in start-ups, recently launched branding and strategy agency, For The People, didn’t run with the typical ad agency model of hierarchy, structure and processes. They didn’t bother looking side-to-side at their competitors. Instead, they kept the focus on the consumer experience. Andy Wright points out, “The art of communication has been lost along the way and many agencies spend their energy asking ‘What are the competitors doing?'”


Advertising is often perceived as being romantically creative but it also gives the opportunity to create work that is “blockbusting, humorous, famous, award winning and contextually magical.” At best, it should produce a campaign that incorporates its surrounding environment and makes the viewer smile, laugh or act!


Traditionally, medium to large agencies followed old-school hierarchy and workflow processes to get the job done. Does this infrastructure nurture creative ideas?

It can aid in understanding how to do things but it can also make you feel like a autonomous robot. How do you avoid feeling this way? Try to always keep the end goal (a tangible result in the hands of the consumer) in mind and avoid ticking the boxes for the sake of ticking boxes.


Increasingly, the agency structure is beginning to flatline and we can’t expect it to keep going. This is a reflection of start-up culture, where there are no traditional business models. Think of them more as tribes or families. If they dream it, they build it and without the instructions. Passionate, crazy people usually helm these start-ups and they are solely focussed on whom they are delivering their product or service to – the consumer. Their aim is to create amazing consumer experiences, without regard for rules or boundaries. Their path isn’t traditional, these entrepreneurs dive down the “rabbit holes” and their business grows exponentially.

IMG_2772In turn, they require agencies that can match their need for speed, agility, parallel partnership and flexibility. They want content released frequently, more so in the digital world, instead of unveiling one expensive full campaign every few months.


For The People, addresses this trend in start-up culture and looks to disrupting the agency model for the sake of speed and creativity. It could be an exciting future for those willing to follow their lead.

For more info about Andy Wright and “For The People” click here.

AdSpeaks announces first speakers for 2015

Premier industry-focused education provider Macleay College has today announced its first round of this year’s AdSpeaks series of talks by high-flying advertising professionals. For The People co-founder Andy Wright to kick off series AdSpeaks_2015_T1_Comp Scheduled to run throughout March, the first volume of AdSpeaks 2015 will be led by three industry professionals lined up to discuss the changing world of advertising; including the entrepreneurial mindsets, integration of technology, and evolving roles. The full speaker programme will run as follows:

  • Monday, March 2, 10.30 am: Andy Wright, co-founder of For The People, will present ‘Starting from scratch – what the agency model would look like if you could start again’. Wright will present his experience in setting up For The People – a new agency model offering branding, design and strategy to new start-ups without a lot of the existing agency infrastructure.
  • Monday, March 16, 10.30 am: Brad Bennett, head of technology at The Hallway, will be discussin ‘Technology Trends’. Bennett will look at 7 trends in technology that will shape the world to come, what it means to innovate and what trends marketers need to be aware of as we create the communications, products and services of tomorrow.
  • Monday, March 30, 10.30 am: Neil Duncan, business director at Leo Burnett, will present ‘The changing role of the Account Manager in the changing world of Advertising’. Duncan will discuss how the management of creative teams, client relationships and tech-providers is changing within the context of the growth of new delivery platforms and mediums.

Head of Advertising at Macleay, Ian Thomson, said that the range of topics that AdSpeaks brings to the table intend to be thought-provoking, not only for advertising students, but for industry professionals. “At Macleay, we like to position ourselves at the forefront of industry and provide an innovative approach to education. Through industry focused programs like AdSpeaks our students are exposed to what’s happening on the leading edge of advertising early on, and can hit the ground running when they enter the workplace,” said Thomson. Previous AdSpeaks speakers have included M&C Saatchi Group Innovation Director Ben Cooper, Profero Creative Director Matthew Delprado, The White Agency strategist Grant Flannery , SBS Group Marketing Director Katherine Raskob, ZenithOptimedia CIO Aaron Michie and Leo Burnett Sydney Planning Director Caroline Ghatt. AdSpeaks talks are open to industry, students and public. If you would like to attend one of the above industry talks, email Ian Thomson at

AdSpeaks: Ben Cooper on Entrepreneurship in Advertising

Ben Cooper

Macleay’s advertising students recently found themselves in the offices of M&C Saatchi with their group innovation director Ben Cooper. Ben described his role as “the team who, in addition to offering an advertising solution, offer clients innovation responses”.  He also mentioned that “innovation is an ever-evolving cycle that can grow businesses by developing new areas of activity that stem from, be adjacent to, or even be transformational from their core business” and hence provide new and sometimes unexpected revenue streams.

Innovation is about breaking the rules of existing models to create new relationships with people. Ben described M&C’s most recent innovation project “Clever Buoy”, a shark detection and warning device, which uses Optus’ telecommunications technology to create a more humane method to keep our beaches and our sharks safe. This is done by identifying sharks’ fin and tail movements and then relaying this information to a satellite, which then sends a warning to the nearest Lifeguard hut who can warn beach-goers hat a shark is nearby the moment it happens. As Australia has the highest number of shark attacks, it is good to see it tackling the problem with a clever new piece of technology. And all of this is part of the brand development activity for the commercial telecommunications company OPTUS, which extends far beyond it’s core areas of business, but can also create new sources of revenue.

Ben Cooper taught me a lot in a mere hour, but the 2 things he said that really stick in my mind are:

“You can’t change the world all at once, but if you help one person, he will tell his story to another.”

“Admit when you are short on knowledge, so be proactive and get help to fill in the gaps.”

Thank you Ben Cooper for a fun and interesting time at M&C Saatchi.

Advertising student, Aleksander Antonijevic

AdSpeaks: Grant Flannery on the role of the Strategist


Grant flannery white agency macleay guest


Macleay College’s advertising students recently had the privilege of hearing from Grant Flannery, the Lead Strategist at The White Agency. Grant started off his presentation with a very intriguing statement, questioning if advertising has been evolving over the past years or if it’s simply the ways of communicating the message that have changed. 

Grant started his career working for Telstra and World Vision, before he moved into agency world. Before joining White, Grant gained experience from some of Australia’s most innovative agencies, such as M&C Saatchi, Reactive and Sapient Nitro. Grant explained how he highly values his years working client side as it gave him a better perspective and understanding of a client’s requirements and working processes. 

Over the years Grant has been able to build a portfolio of creative work for a wide range of clients, like Nestlé, Lexus, Disney and Lion Nathan. Since then his clients have mainly been within the beer category, which might seem as every advertising man’s dream. 

Grant gave the audience an invaluable understanding of the differences between how strategists and digital strategists work. The main outtake was how the work always revolve around four main pillars; the consumer, the brand, the media and the ideas.

It’s common knowledge within the industry that advertising strategies are moving into digital, and Grant explained what it actually means within the four pillars;

1. What does our consumer look like online? How do they behave and how do we use pull vs. push strategies?

2. What’s our brand’s digital presence? How does it behave across all platforms?

3. How can we use digital media to become more relevant to our audience and reach them at the exact right moment?

4. Digital ideas are evolving faster than anything else, how do we benefit from this?

Besides his perspective on how digital strategy is evolving, Grant gave Macleay’s advertising students expertise advice on finding THE INSIGHT, how to use research as a guide, and the differences between story building and story telling in advertising.

For anyone interested in the creation of big ideas and a strategist’s process, research and intensive search for ‘the insight’, Grant’s speech was incredibly insightful and interesting.

Advertising Student, Emelie Engman

AdSpeaks: Chris Hamilton on the misconceptions of the effectiveness of advertising delivery platforms


At the recent AdSpeaks presentation at Macleay College, Chris Hamilton the marketing manager from Yaffa Publishing spoke about how regardless of your position in an agency, it is important to bring some understanding to what advertising medium to use to maximise your clients’ results. He also explained that with the world we live in today, there are so many choices of media and that you shouldn’t just choose the “hottest”medium of the moment, but rather choose the one that is will achieve the most effective results for your target audience and client. Chris presented comparative statistics about the perceptions of the consumer vs those of the marketers in terms of how to best communicate to certain target groups. Important to note were the discrepancies between the perceived effectiveness of social media as an advertising vehicle, and TV which is in recovery mode at the moment. He then went on to show us a video of the advertising icon Sean Cummins, where he explained why creatives, account managers and media planners should work together from the very beginning to maximise the success of an ad campaign. Chris used an old TV with two knobs and modern day remote to show us all the extra buttons we need to navigate through in order to find that parts that actually work – which is exactly the way creative problem solving in advertising  works – we need to go through all the possibilities to find the best one.  At the end of the talk Chris told us about a competition AdNews is running for students who want to launch their career in advertising or marketing for the new 3rd generation Audi TT. Everyone saw this as a massive opportunity to kick start our careers with only one trimester left everyone was very eager to enter.

Advertising Student, Nicholas Farasopoulos


MACLEAY ADVERTISING lines up industry experts for ADSPEAKS series



Macleay College has some great industry speakers lined up for this trimester’s series of industry talks by high-flying industry professionals.

The series kicks off on Monday, September 29 at 12pm with Chris Hamilton, Marketing Manager at Yaffa Publishing speaking about “The myths about the selling power of advertising”. Chris will be describing which mediums are better for engaging, selling and generating a direct response, as opposed to mediums that are better targeted for branding. Chris will also be presenting a new student competition run via AdNews. Stay tuned for more details.

On Monday, October 13 at 12pm, Clive Dickens, Director of Digital Strategy & Innovation at Southern Cross Ausstereo will be speaking about “SoLoMoVo –smartphones, media and the future of radio”. SoLoMoVo (Social media, location aware, mobile and video) refers to the tendency of audiences to be very socially active, constantly share their active location through their device and achieve all this on the go through their mobile.  Radio is in a perfect position to integrate with this behaviour via its huge scale through broadcast and it’s persistent intimacy with the audience via social media. The business opportunities really present themselves when brands and sellers start to utilise this data to better target consumers and buyers.  “The potential for SoLoMoVo and ‘intimate scale’ is enormous”.

Monday, November 10 at 12pm sees Grant Flannery, Senior Lead Strategist at The White Agency on “A strategist in the evolving world of advertising”. Grant is an award winning and published Advertising / Strategy expert who focuses on predicting the next big  digital trends to help his clients realise the value that digital can make to consumers lives. Grant will be speaking about his experience in strategy and how this role is evolving within the context of a digital focus in advertising.

On Monday, November 24 at 12pm, Ben Cooper, M&C Saatchi Group Innovation Director will be speaking about “Clever Bouy – How innovation and product development are the new frontiers of advertising”. Ben, equal parts digital strategist, digital creative and technologist, has a stellar skillset honed from having long lived at the place where technology and creativity intersect. The “Clever Buoy” project uses breakthrough shark detection technology to demonstrate the power of the Optus network. What a powerful piece of brand advertising.

AdSpeaks talks are open to industry and public, but registration is essential under

See you there.

Ian Thomson, Advertising Program Leader


AdSpeaks: Successful Ad-Grad James McInerney returns


Macleay Advertising students recently had the privilege of hearing from a successful advertising graduate, James Mclnerney. In a short period of after graduating from the Diploma of Advertising, James went on to become a strategist and a producer at the production company KONTENTED, and is now coming up with ideas and producing content videos and television commercials with people like Red Foo and Katy Perry. Having James speak of the new job opportunities within the advertising industry, which combine a number of areas of skills such as conceptualizing and producing, was inspiring. I know of a few fellow students (and myself) that aren’t quite sure which area of advertising we want to go into just yet, so to have James come in and speak about the many new opportunities that are becoming available in our industry has made us really want to broaden our own set of skills.  Also the fact that James decided to build on from his career as a DJ and study advertising at the age of 30 has really inspired me to always keep studying and learning new things, even when you are working in industry. The lesson that I took home from James is that you should never give up on what you want.

Sarah Zaait, Advertising Student.

ADSPEAKS: Kirsty Dollisson on “Shopper Marketing”


Macleay Advertising is pleased to welcome the General Manager of Torch Media, Kirsty Dollisson, as guest speaker in the ADSPEAKS series of talks from high-ranking industry professionals. Kirtsy brings over seventeen years’ experience within the Out-of-Home industry . Starting her career in media sales with Boyer International Outdoor and Boyer Sports Media, selling airport and sporting ground advertising, Kirsty moved into international media sales working with global brands across a number of sectors. After five years in media sales, Kirsty moved into media marketing and accountability where she played an instrumental role in developing the Eye Drive, Eye Fly and Eye Shop brands for Eye Corp, establishing herself as a leader in media branding, accountability and research.

Kirsty launched the TorchMedia brand in 2007, a media company dedicated to influencing shoppers. She has been the driving force behind TorchMedia’s extensive shopper research, insight and media accountability programme. She is widely regarded within the Australian media industry as an expert and advocate of ‘shopper media’, regularly providing commentary to the trade press on anything related to Out-of-Home advertising, shopper behaviours and retail media and marketing.

Kirsty is a member of Business Chicks, plays an active role in the Outdoor Media Association marketing committee, possess a Bachelor of Environmental Science from Sydney University and was awarded with the 2010 B&T Media Brand of the Year.

This year Kirsty has also been shortlisted as a finalist for 3 Women In Media Awards (Sales, Marketing & Mentoring).

Kirsty will be speaking on “Shopper Marketing” at 12 pm on Monday, August 4, 2014 at Macleay College, Level 2, 28 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills 2010.

ADSPEAKS is open to industry and public, but registration over is essential.

Justin Smidmore on MC Creative’s Corona Campaign

Justin Smidmore on MC Creative's Corona Campaign

The latest instalment of ADSPEAKS saw Macleay Advertising Students treated to a lively presentation from Justin Smidmore, strategic director of the very cool and innovative creative agency MC Creative, which is not only an up and coming ad agency but also the creative arm of the cult magazine Monster Children.
Interesting is the untraditional growth into advertising from their background in photography and publishing for the surfer, skate and urban fashion scenes.
Justin was passionate discussing his work at MC and also explained how the agency’s presence was growing in the advertising industry. He then elaborated on the behind-the -scenes processes from MC’s successful Corona Extra Campaign (which in the mean time is Australia’s most popular imported beer), which features a TVC that is more of a lifestyle film than an ad, that encapsulates the vibe and spirit of the brand Corona. Justin answered all of our questions – no matter how silly we thought they may have seemed- in a way that was easily understood. Two pieces of advice I will take away from Justin are firstly, it is very important to understand your objectives before creating your strategy. Secondly, if you look for projects related to your own interests or passions, then it won’t seem like work at all.

Amanda Florence, Advertising Student