Remember Creative is getting bigger and busier; and I am getting less face time with Michael/Mick as we often don’t have much time to talk so I started having writing down all the questions I have and firing them at him and then I thought it would be equally useful for our readers to learn more in off the cuff remarks. So here goes…

RD: So, Being a respected director and creative at many big and mid agencies, what made you start at Remember Creative?

MM: The key reason I started the agency was because when I looked at what the majority of agencies were doing 3-5 years ago – we had moved away from having a really great relationship between the creatives and the clients themselves and had become all about strategy. The problem that I had with that wasn’t about strategy not being important, because it is, but terrible strategies were being justified to the client about how a campaign would roll out before it even got to the creative people and I always felt that that seemed silly – in that you were paying all these really really clever creative people to come up with ideas but they were being shoehorned into ideas that were being sold into a strategy that they had never seen in the first place.

And when I looked at great campaigns of the past, it was clear that it was creative thinking that made those campaigns come to life rather than pure strategy.

RD: Could you give us an example?

MM: Well, I think, if you want to look at one like Qantas, the choir campaign was all about connecting and creating and emotive relationship between Qantas and Australians. And the strategy was probably only that deep in it’s thinking and then the idea of how do we bring that to life eventually became the I Still Call Australia Home choir campaign which had a legacy of almost 25 years. That idea came about by group of really creative people sitting around figuring out how do we tie this brand and make it feel intrinsically Australian beside the kangaroo that is on its tail. I think when I look at strategies I’ve been deally with in recent memory from strategists they’re 20-30 pages long in some cases – being a deck-

RD: I love your deck

(Michael is used to ignoring my comments and soldiers on with his thought)

MM: And everything has to be justified with an idea which is ironic because they’re not paid to come up with ideas they are paid to come up with strategies.

RD: So going back to Qantas, they weren’t hamstrung by a strategy in the choirs case, or were they hamstrung and got around it?

MM: No, I don’t think it’s being hamstrung, I think it’s the wrong language, I think the strategy was clean, it was clear, we want to create an emotive connection between the brand and our consumer and it was left at that, the power of (sic), the reason that they wanted to do that was because at the time they were allowing other airlines to take on the Australia-US route which had historically been exclusive and there were a lot more players taking on the UK-Australia route, the Kangaroo route if you want to call it that, and all of a sudden they wanted more Australians to feel an emotional connection to travel with Qantas.

The Strategy doesn’t need to be more complicated than that and the idea grew into something that has, as I said earlier, a huge legacy.

The Strategy doesn’t need to be more complicated than that and the idea grew into something that has, as I said earlier, a huge legacy.

RD: A choir singing how would you even sell something like that?

MM: Well, they actually had some challenges there, so the anecdote that I heard around that, because obviously, I wasn’t there at the agency where it was created. Was…

RD: Was this at one of the agencies you would later work for?

MM: Yes it was at Ogilvy, it was done before my time, but I worked closely with the Qantas team, so I got a good insight into mindset that they brought to that project, but basically what was, they got given that strategy, they went away and thought about it. Really struggled with the notion of tying the consumer to Qantas as the nation’s airline – and then, all of a sudden – came up with the choir idea, pitched it to Qantas “we have this fantastic idea, what do you think?”, Qantas initially rejected the idea it wasn’t until they brought Geoff Dixon’s wife in…

RD: Geoff Dixon is…?

MM: Geoff Dixon was the CEO of Qantas at the time… so they brought his wife in and they actually brought the choir in… and performed the song… and she broke down and cried and said she had never felt like that before. And I think Qantas have now moved past this, I think Feels like home is their latest version and again a really nice play on tying Qantas into the Australian way of life but, again, the legacy of that campaign was 20 or so years.

RD: Amazing Stuff, So we know why you started Remember Creative and I am assuming the answer to my next question which was ‘why the name Remember Creative?’

MM: Yeah, strategy is important but don’t forget the creative… Remember Creative.

Wow, we’ve already hit the six minute mark. Let’s save the rest for the next 5 minutes with Mick.




43 thoughts on “5 Minutes with Menzies – episode 1

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