Monday, July 07, 2008

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head And I'm Getting Sick Of It

You often hear Creatives talk about one particular solution...


A friend of mine at BBH has recently taken a job there.

But is it a good idea?

The rumour is that you're trading better weather for worse work. Is that true? Does it matter?

Do you work in Australia, or have you worked there? If so, please give the rest of us the facts.


Anonymous said...

There are loads of aussie creatives in London. What does that tell you?

You can always take a holiday to a hotter climate. You can't always be pitching on the next Guinness, Levis or Honda brief.

Anonymous said...

Learn Portuguese and move to Brazil.

Good work and good weather (in print at least).

PH said...

Don't fancy Oz myself. Been trying to get a job in Denmark but it doesn't look good. Also the English CD at Saatchis out there told me UK creatives generally struggle, which didn't fill me with confidence.

Anonymous said...

scamp, did he get better money??

Scamp said...

I don't want to say, because I don't know if he wants people knowing that, one way or the other.

But it would be interesting if someone has the 'in general' answer - come on and tell us.

Anonymous said...

My Aussie mate DK works at BMF in Sydney. I'd say the standard of work there is world class. Not sure how many Aussie agencies you could say that about. I'll get DK to pop along and give us his perspective.

Anonymous said...


Did that Saatchi's CD say in what way UK creatives struggled in Oz? Not quick enough, language barrier, attitude, lack of insight in to Aussie psyche?

Anonymous said...

I think better work comes out of New Zealand, particularly "experiential advertising" or stunts, as they used to be known. TBWA and Publicis there have won more awards at Cannes in the last 3 years than the same agencies have done here. Probably because the weather's more like ours.

Anonymous said...

Check out The Glue Society. In my opinion this place is as cool as anywhere in London. They're much more than a traditional agency. I love the way they write and direct client stuff and do their own thing too.

Anonymous said...

Is it a coincidence that much of the greatest thinking in the history of this planet (inventions, art, literature) has happened in a temperate climate (Japan, Europe, parts of America)?

Obviously that's a huge generalisation but maybe the colder temperatures lead to huddling up indoors and doing some boring old work.

For every great Australian author or artist someone can name off the top of their heads I'll name 100 Brits (it probably doesn't help that they're all descended from criminals).

Anonymous said...

As for money, it's been reported in the Auckland press that Nick Worthington (just won 2 Golds for Steinlager at Cannes, was ECD at Publicis, now at BBDO) is on $700,000 NZ, probably the biggest pay packet out there. Divide that by 2.6 and you'll see he's on just over half of what a top ECD would earn here (£400-500K+?). Property's cheaper over there though... for now.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the money makes up for the wages of sin that Nick must pay for the things he's done...

Anonymous said...

Oracle - you are right. Those Aussies have only been on the face of the planet for about 220 years.

Anonymous said...

Erm i think you're all missing the point.

The work isn't as good because people don't care as much because they realize it's only bloody advertising.

They go to work, have a laugh, make fun ads and then have a good life outside of it.


Advertising said...

Hahaha, I did a YouTube video at the start of year about the shitty weather:

Be warned, it will get stuck in your head for the rest of your life. Probably.

On the subject of Down Under, this ad has the best of both worlds: a Kiwi actor and an Aussie brand:

Anonymous said...

The guy above is right. The standard of living over there beats that of London. I just got back from a freelance stint over in Oz, could've stayed but felt I'd develop and learn more being back here in London. I definately have intentions of returning but not until my career has proved more fruitful.

It's happening in all industries. The Brain drain is a result - not just of the work people do, but the life people want outside of work.

Anonymous said...

Great Oracle etc:

"Is it a coincidence that much of the greatest thinking in the history of this planet (inventions, art, literature) has happened in a temperate climate (Japan, Europe, parts of America)?"

You're rather glossing over the Middle East aren't you? The Persian and Ottoman Empires had some pretty smart thinkers and artists. Take a look at for some examples.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't spend all that time with those dreadful Aussie freelance SUITS we have to deal with all the time.

India for me. Shit work. But what a lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

I find hard to believe that India and life style go together.

Anonymous said...

NZ do great outdoor and experiential cause the council bylaws tend to be easier to work with.
Hence your kill bill bloodstains and whatnot.
Every Aussie creative goes to London to take advantage of the year working holiday visa at some point - great vacation and helps the CV.

Alan Wolk said...

Duuuuddess: California

San Francisco, in particular.

My fellow Americans are huge suckers for a British accent. I mean there's a semi-famous ad that goes something like "If you don't have anything intelligent to say, say it in a British accent." (Unstated ending being "and everyone will think you're a genius.)

Cost of living may be a bit steep, but you can't beat the weather.

And I don't think anyone would dispute that Goodby, Butler Shine, Venables Bell, and a bunch of other shops I can't think of at the moment are doing great work.

(And yeah, I realize we have immigration laws that make it tough for Brits to work here, but there are enough of you here that I'm thinking it's not insurmountable.)

Anonymous said...

English struggle in oz cause aussies hate wankers? Especially the types that continue to make convict jibes? thought you're meant to be a creative? shall i make a joke about your cricket and cuisine just to even the played out concepts score?

(note: In Australia every sentence spoken should be deliver as if one is posing a question)

Anonymous said...

It seems that you should go and work in Sydney as their advertising has clearly worked on you. What they fail to tell you on their adverts is that you should only go and work there if you're white. I worked there for two years and I've never been to a more racist country. Yer so the sun shines (but not as much as they'd have you believe), but once you've got your sun tan, you soon realise that you scratch the surface and you'll find nothing. Oh and you'll be waiting a long time for any bands to come over, and your mates will only appear in the summer or when the Ashes are on. Honestly... great for 6 months, crap for any longer. If you have friends and family, don't go. If you're a shallow, self-centred, image focused person then go... wait a wonder so many people are over there from advertising.

PH said...

I/he was talking about creatives in Denmark fella. Apparently, you just end up adapting their concepts into English. And he said the standard is very high. Incidentally, Saatchis Denmark did very well in Cannes.

PH said...

Alan Wolk:
Does one get the job first? Or permission to work first, and then the job? It's always confused me.

Anonymous said...

@alan wolk:

good advice. do you happen to know what a senior copywriter (12 years experience) charges for a daily rate in san francisco? how about a staff job?

...just as a general question (i know, book and awards are also factors)...

Anonymous said...

Scamp, I'm intrigued.
Would you seriously give up your post at any well respected agency in London because of the weather?

I thought you brits should be used to it by now.

Happy to exchange my post in L.A.

Anonymous said...

Scamp, the only place you'd love to go is Fallon. We all know that.

Sadly, they don't seem too interested in people who can do brilliant print.

Scamp said...

At times like this, I think about it. As you may know, we only have two months of summer in the UK - July and August. Except that right now, it's July, and it's raining.

We take the piss out of Californians. But they always seem very happy. They can't all be on Prozac. Maybe the weather is more important than we realise...

Scamp said...

Fallon's lack of good print is an interesting topic. It's worth a whole post I think. Maybe later this week.

Anonymous said...

agree with alan. never mind the antipodes. calfornia is the place. and, perhaps bizarrely, they love you brits.

Anonymous said...

I'm one who traded London for San Francisco. And it's not prozac that makes the people happy - it's pleasant weather, fresh food, and a work culture that lets you enjoy it.

The work might not be as good, but there are still plenty of top-tier shops here. And more popping up, I suppose for the reasons mentioned above.

Anonymous said...

anon 5:35:

how is the market out that way for senior creatives? freelance and f/t... i've heard it's a depressed economy out that way (more than most cities).

what's the money like out there?

would you say most shops understand if creatives want to get out at 6?

is it true there are only two weeks' holiday on offer at staff jobs?

any headhunters to reco?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear.


Occasional crime.
Great locations to live in.
Extremely cosmopolitan.
Culturally engaged.
Fantastic weather.
Outdoor lifestyle.
Has the South Pacific islands and Asia as it's playgrounds.
Has gregarious, egalitarian, broadminded people for company.
Did I mention the food and wine?
Did I mention it's two and a half times cheaper to live there than western Europe?


A stabbing or shooting everyday, sometimes a multiple stabbing, if you are French.
Too expensive to live anywhere decent for under £750k.
Cosmopolitan, but only if you can be bothered.
Culturally regressed. Boris Johnson anybody? Liverpool, Capital of Culture (ARF!)
Filthy, smelly shithole..
The weather...
Thank God for the Idiot Box, eh?
Has Bournemouth, Ibiza,
Has ignorant, unfriendly, unsociable people as it's inhabitants.
Did I mention the food (granted it's a bit better these days).
Did I mention the cost of living in the dump is exorbitant?

Go on..."racists...convicts..."

Laughing at you.

Anonymous said...

There are loads of Aussie creatives in the US too. The work in Australia can be pretty good overall, the clients are generally not as conservative as the US or some of Europe, but the cash is a helluva lot better in the US. And there are opportunities, it's just a matter of finding them and not letting an account person (or another creative) screw them up before they are presented. Internal fear of clients seems to be a big(ger) problem here in the US than other places I'm aware of.

Anonymous said...

Clients in Australia are painfully conservative old boys club making the day to day work (almost entirely) abysmal. But naturally the industry compensates by producing mountains of award scam.

Does it matter much when the weather is nice and the food is excellent? Really comes down to whether you live to work or work to live.

Anonymous said...

Do you really need to have Juan Cabral or Nick Gill to do better work? Granted, London has the reputation but this globalised world we live in, you can get good briefs everywhere. Just ask the Brazilians or the argentines (lowercase A intended).

Anonymous said...

Scamp has a point. The weather's been truly shit all day.

Anonymous said...

Scamp, do you have an e-mail I can write to you about a subject I would like your opinion?


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scamp said...

My e-mail address is simon dot veksner at bbh dot co dot uk.

Anonymous said...

Moved over to Sydney with an agency as part of the job and been here for 9 months - key points on working in Australia:

- The work: The majority of work (especially within big networks) is global work with local adaptations - only the smaller creative hotshops (Glue Society, Three Drunk Monkeys) are doing stuff that stands out from the rest

- Work ethic: dont think for a moment it'll be laid back with afternoons down the beach - Aussies love to be in the office and at work at 8 to 8.30

- Digital is far behind - mainly due to pathetic broadband speeds

- Outdoors lifestyle: the best point - great weather and the winters agreeable too.

- Cost of living: dont believe a word that its cheaper over here - Rent, food and transport are only a little cheaper than the UK

Culture: you'll miss cultural diversity, good music and news - the Guardian website is my lifeline to culture.

Aussies: they will never get bored of POM jokes... i mean never.

All in all - a nice lifestyle change if you've established yourself in the UK already, but do it on the proviso you'll head back..

Anonymous said...

There's nothing like a good Pom joke. It's one of the great joys of life, along with cold beer, warm weather and successful sporting teams - you've got the makings of some cracker Pom jokes right, there actually, especially with the Olympics coming up.

Personally, I'd rather more of you didn't come over. The industry over here is already overflowing with expat Brits. There's still a distinct cultural cringe, over here: if you've worked in London, you must be brilliant. Sadly, this is far from universally true, in my experience.

Judging by some of the comments above, many of you subscribe to this point of view as well, and consider yourselves vastly superior to us poor antipodean yokels. You do great work do you? Last time I checked, most of it was being done by some Argentinean bloke with a mullet.

So please, take the advice above. Go to California. And stop whining and moaning, or I'll have to tell you the one about the whingeing Pom again...

Anonymous said...

australia sounds like pain. ditto tiny NZ.

look, if you're looking for guaranteed good weather, the USA is the only place. even new york has guaranteed good summers. and you get the chance to work on great stuff. big important stuff.

Anonymous said...

Food's not as bland, but the market for scam is probably huge is it's anything like Singapore.

I wonder how Yanks do there.

Anonymous said...

It does rain in Australia

You do all know that, right?

Anonymous said...

Really? I thought it only rains in Africa but that's just cos of a cheesy 80's song.

Anonymous said...

Having been to San Francisco for a few days on my honeymoon 18 months ago, I have to agree with Mr Wolk. It's a great place. I'd move there in a shot. Even my Mrs, who is waaaay more cautious about moving abroad, was keen. Great weather, great scenery, a cosmopolitan outlook… and you can walk round the centre of town easily.

Oh, and thanks for the clarity, ph.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the Fallon question for another post (Scamp, are you moderating this?), I'd just like to point out to our Antipodean mates that, yes Aus &NZ do award winning work, but it's all down to british expat CD's David Nobay (Brit) Agency of the year 3 years running at Saatchi's, Toby Talbot (Brit) No. 1 CD in the region according to Campaign Brief rankings. Andy Blood (Brit) Grand Prix, Gold lions etc for TBWA. Jonathan Kneebone (Brit) started Glue Society and this year's big award winner, Nick (Brit) Worthington. Aside from Droga, without the Brits where would you be?

Anonymous said...

After admiring British advertising for years, my AD and I moved over 4 years ago from Australia. After some looking around, we finally landed a job at a place we were really keen to work at.

What strikes me the most about working here is how much great Australian work I now see. Could be a case of the grass is greener- or perhaps I only see the good stuff (minus the ubiquitous Persian rug sale ads), but it really seems creative standards have improved in recent years- take a look at the Schweppes work that won gold at Cannes this year, or any of the work out of The Glue Society or George Patterson Y&R.

Contrary to some opinions on here, I have to say that Aussies have a serious work ethic. They work really long hours, they are incredibly ambitious and take advertising very seriously- the stereotype of the laid-back aussie doesn’t really apply.
There is a big difference in style though- Aus advertising is very straight shooting, very conceptual, and usually made on a shoestring, whilst the work here is, I think, more high art and high budget.

But what I love about this industry is that you can work all over the world. Why be limited by geography? Working in any other market is a huge challenge, but ultimately a great thing to do.

Anonymous said...

If I liked yanks I'd work in California.

If I could stop disliking Ozzies I'd probably work there too.

smellvetica said...

For those over 30 though, don't you have to get sponsored or a job in a UK agency that has a AUS or States office, or am I just talking rubbish?

I know the Australian Tourist Board are putting a massive shove on getting kids (under 30) over..

Anonymous said...

it's rainham sheds

Anonymous said...

from what i've heard..ozzy girls give better h**d

Anonymous said...

Only the ginger ones.

Anonymous said...

The spiders in Oz are abundant and are big enough to eat small dogs, children and the elderly. Okay, I'm exaggerating but the place is full of them!

Ever thought about South Africa? plenty sunshine, the big five and biltong!Plus 2010 world cup will fire the marketing machine.

The Oxymorons said...

Work over weather, although the attraction of working in Australia is tempting. Just graduated so we feel London is the first and best place to be recognised, and then we can think about working abroad for a year.