Dynamic Duos: Orchard ECDs Ross Garbett and Tim Condrick

In this week's Dynamic Duos, executive creative directors at Orchard, Ross Garbett and Tim Condrick, tell Mumbrella how their professional partnership and friendship has developed since an awkward first 'date'.

Ross Garbett:

I first met Tim on Crown Street, Surry Hills somewhere between the methadone clinic and the youth centre. Tim came at me from nowhere. Bounding up, all hairy exuberance like a big dribbly retriever surprising a skittish sausage dog in the park.

The Orchard directors had arranged a lunch “date” for us and were keen for us to hit it off. Looking back, I was probably a bit sulky and stand-offish because I wanted to partner with another art director. Anyway, Tim soon talked me around by being this big-hearted, easy-going, very genuine guy.

I’ve known Tim for around seven years now and other than being more confident in management he’s the same guy from that Japanese restaurant, with a longer beard. There’s very little “front” as we say in England. No conceit. We’ve probably seriously annoyed each other about twice in all that time, haven’t we Tim? …Tim?

Why does our partnership work? We’ve got a few things in common. Firstly, a determination to not get too much up ourselves shaped by similar past experiences. We also try to make sure our reports take credit for their own work, after being in agencies where the CDs sucked up all the accolades. At Orchard Tim and I proudly wear our lack of ego as a badge of pride. It looks like misplaced vanity but it’s definitely ironic. Definitely.

Another thing we have in common is we like a laugh. Luckily flexible working means others don’t have to put up with Tim and me giggling like Japanese schoolgirls these days. We do it on Zoom. Our credibility has probably spiked as a result. Creatives are either geniuses who can locate the fundamental essence of a problem in the manner Picasso recaptured the purity and innocence of youth, or they arrive there instinctively because they’ve never left childhood behind. Tim and I are definitely the latter type. Neither of us are creative geniuses but we work hard at it, we care about what we do and we occasionally come up with some good stuff.

Tim Condrick:

In the early years of my career across Sydney and London the thing that really stood out to me when I looked at great work was that it came from creative teams who had really really strong relationships – great rapports. Occasionally great work came from individuals but consistency and enduring success came from incredible partnerships – teams who were able absorb the pressures of challenging moments but also celebrate the successes of great ones together were the ones that delivered.

So, when I was approached to join Orchard, Ross was my greatest priority because without a sense that we could forge a partnership as the one described above, I didn’t feel like it would be the right place for me. Like all great relationships, we started off with an awkward first date and the rest is history!

I think the relationship is successful because, in simple terms, we both believe (to our eternal torment) that great creative is the essential ingredient to communicating effectively. However, we also recognise that time is precious, and no sensible person really wants to engage with advertising, especially if it fails to deliver meaningful value (thief!). If we waste people’s attention by not rewarding it, there is zero success to be had. And probably zero fun to be fair. Which to put that in context is a core component of how we do what we do. We’re acutely aware we’re not saving lives. There are people out there doing far more important things than us, so we’re conscious of how privileged we are to be able to do this for a living.

At the end of the day we (mostly) have fun doing it, which makes it easier to keep the creativity flowing.

Ross on Tim:

Most memorable moment with Tim: There are so many. A certain monkey concept that looked feasible at 1 am, not so much in the cold light of day that we gamely pressed ahead with anyway… We’ve been through the trenches together, we’ve pulled all nighters we’ve walked into rooms where neither of us is entirely sure what’s going on or what we’re going to say but somehow avoided being found out. Or at least no one was unkind enough to publicly call us out, which let’s face it is the main thing.

Best word to describe Tim: Hairy? Nurturing? He nurtures both people and hair. Like Herbal Essences for the soul.

Most annoying or endearing behaviour Tim has: He supports Arsenal, but that’s more a full-blown pathology, isn’t it? He fails to pronounce certain words in the manner our late Queen would have wished, but neither do I. What’s endearing is that he’s not afraid to show his emotional side, which I’m both intrigued and jealous of. Being British we can’t do that, we’ve had all the emotion washed out of us by rain and poor batting.

Tim on Ross: 

Most memorable moment with Ross: There are many moments I have shared with Ross, but certainly one of the top five will always be when we presented a teddy bear as a tactic for part of a campaign. We quickly discovered that the person we were presenting to was the sole individual on planet earth who passionately hated teddy bears. They commented “teddy bears are stupid – STUPID!” Must have been a lot going on there in the background.

Best word to describe Ross: Intelligent.

Most annoying or endearing behaviour Ross has: Ravenous fruit eating.

If you and a colleague would like to submit your story to Dynamic Duos, please email Lauren at lmcnamara@mumbrella.com.au. 


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