You probably think Australian ad people walk around their agencies wearing board shorts and sandals the whole time. Ha! Of course we don’t. That would be foolish. There are more than 2,000 species of spider in this country, many of which are venomous. The funnel-web and redback – two of the most dangerous – are quite common even in urban areas and have been known to lie in wait in the darker corners of an ad agency, such as stationery cupboards, filing cabinets and edit suites. Hence long trousers, shoes and socks are essential.
The working mornings in a Sydney agency are fairly intense – inevitably, everyone wants to get their work done so they can go for a surf in the afternoon. So if all has gone well, by about 2pm, we finally can get our board shorts on and head down to Bondi Beach. It’s a fun atmosphere there, with staffers from rival agencies all involved in a bit of friendly competition to see who can catch the best breaks. People say it’s dangerous because there are sharks around, but actual attacks are very rare. At DDB, we probably lose about one creative every two years.
At dusk, we’ll go back to the agency for a barbecue. Sometimes it might be a different agency that’s hosting; we’re always pleased when it’s BMF, because it has the Castlemaine XXXX account, which is the most popular beer here. But whatever is going on in the evening, everything stops for Neighbours and Home And Away. They are essential viewing, since you wouldn’t want to be left out of the next day’s water-cooler conversations. Then it will be time to go home.
Digital and content are perhaps a little more advanced here, and there's less print and outdoor
The vast majority of the Australian population lives on the beach, not in the city, and it can be a slightly hazardous journey to get back. The kangaroos are very active in the evenings and, if you come upon a mob of them – for example, crossing the road – you could be in trouble: these creatures have powerful tails and are adept at boxing. However, they rarely seek to deliberately cause harm to humans. The same can’t be said, unfortunately, for the crocodiles. They are freshwater animals, so we are relatively safe in our beachside pads – it’s just the journey home that is problematic: that damned gauntlet of snapping.
At least that’s the perception.
The reality is that the advertising industry in Australia is basically the same as in the UK. We have clients, suits, creatives, planners, briefs and, of course, agencies… most of which are simply the local offices of the well-known global networks. We have the same ambitions and the same arguments. Digital and content are perhaps a little more advanced here (see "the best job in the world" and "dumb ways to die"), and there’s less print and outdoor. Otherwise, it’s basically the same. Except the weather. The weather really is a lot better.
Simon Veksner is the creative director at DDB Sydney