‘I really worry about creativity in this business’: McCann’s Nicole Taylor on the importance of diversity

Nicole Taylor, who joined McCann Australia as its CEO in June last year, has told a room of aspiring advertising executives she worries “about creativity in this business”.

Acknowledging her comment sounded “like a cliche”, Taylor explained she sees creativity being “done better in other places”.

Nicole Taylor, The Monkeys Melbourne’s Paul McMillan, Special Group’s Lindsay Evans and Richards Rose’s Digby Richards

“I see it in organisations and industries other than advertising and I see amazing talent being attracted to those businesses.

“I worry about that because at the heart of our business, if we don’t have brilliant, creative people then we can’t really offer the value that we promise our clients,” Taylor said at the Communications Council’s Hunting with One Bullet panel.

Letting the independent agencies “off the hook”, Taylor said during her time at multinational network agencies – including DDB, WPP and Dentsu – she has felt the industry “almost removing the edges”.

“We are attracting these people who have to be really good with the clients, who have to be really good with strategy, as well and yes, we need you to knock it out of the park with your ideas, and all of a sudden there is this list of demands that I think becomes a little unrealistic for how we create, attract and nurture talent.”

McCann Australia’s CEO said “unfortunately” she hasn’t seen the industry embrace enough diversity.

“Do we have enough diversity? Are we encouraging them to have a vision? Are we supporting them to be bold and brave in their ideas? What do we do? And unfortunately I have probably seen enough of the opposite, where we are almost smoothing that out.”

Taylor was previously the Sydney CEO at DDB

Taylor encouraged the industry and its leaders to be “more inspired by the creative business” rather than by management consultants, “who are consultants and accountants”.

The consultants have made major plays in the creative space over the last few years, which began when Accenture bought The Monkeys in 2017.

Later that year RXP purchased The Works and Deloitte raided McCann Melbourne for its top talent to launch a creative and media offering.

Last year, PwC took a minority stake in creative agency Thinkerbell.

Despite this, Taylor argued management consultants “don’t have creative cultures, they don’t have and support the weirdos and the different. That’s not how it works”.

Taylor said she wants to attract diverse talent and “offer them something of value, which is a career that is amazing and challenging and at its best it can change the world.

“Second of all, look for people who have gone the tough road, the hard road.

“Sometimes we just live in our own bubble and it really bothers me. It bothers me because I think we need to have more friction in us, more tension, more attitude, just more belief.

“The more difference we have in this industry, the better we will be.”


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