I come from a brand down under: why Australia should be the next advertising capital of the world

Once upon a time, there were few reasons why a CMO would give a global assignment to an Australian ad agency. But now, now there are over 10 billion reasons, writes Tim Harvey, founder of MADMADE.

“Don’t buy now, pay the price later.”

Excuse the twist on one of the recent multi-billion dollar global brand exports out of Australia, but this is the message we should be sending to all CMO’s across the world and not just Australia’s latest and greatest Unicorn. This should be the sense of feeling from CMO’s in 2022 and beyond – that in not building more brands and creating more powerful creative platforms out of Australia, they are simply missing out. You see, these CMOs have all met Graham, they’ve learned about dumb ways to die, felt the hungerithm in their bellies, and even switched off a light or two for Earth Hour. This is because great Australian creativity travels the world whether intentional or not. And yet, many CMOs see Australia as a local market. A small market. A market for adaptation. Heck, some CMOs even see this as a market within APAC.

Granted, once upon a time, there were few reasons why a CMO would give a global assignment to an Australian ad agency. But now, now there are over 10 billion reasons. Or, more importantly, now there is no reason not to.10 billion is the amount in dollars that Australian start-ups have received since 2021. 39 billion is what Afterpay sold for. And 55 billion is Canva’s latest valuation. This is no longer a satellite market for the brands of the old economy, it’s the launchpad for the brands of the new one (though the rocketship analogies should end there).

So, great creative pedigree and an influx in start-ups.

But then there is of course The Great Resignation (Reignition). Finally, people are recognising that you can and should re-prioritise your life/work balance and employers are seeing the value in their staff doing that, win-win. Your employer pays your salary, but you’ve become your own boss on the decisions you take in relation to that. You’ve recognised what matters, and what doesn’t. More importantly, you’ve learnt to work in new ways. And you have to believe, traditional ad markets are suffering from this and markets like Australia are only becoming more attractive. As a client you’ve cast the net wider and further in order to get the best talent working on your business. As an agency, you’ve changed your working week to open yourself up to the best opportunities globally. And as an industry, we’ve re-written the rules of what great creativity looks like and how you get to it.

In 2022, there will be agencies in Madison Avenue squabbling about how they get a role on the Afterpay business, and those in LA and SF wondering the same about Canva – these aren’t considered as Australian brands looking to enter new markets, but global brands out of Australia. But why should these brands even need to go to these markets to find the best talent?

In Australia we now have:
– an incredible creative economy which consistently punches above its weight on the biggest stage
– an incredible start-up economy, giving birth to some of the world’s most valued and valuable brand
– an incredible hybrid economy that recognises the importance of a life/work balance for world class talent and more importantly, thrives on it

If this isn’t a checklist for the next advertising capital of the world, I don’t know what is. And I for one am looking forward to helping more brands give it a big tick.

Tim Harvey, founder, MADMADE


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