Opinion

Melbourne, here’s how not to be like Adelaide

In this guest posting, David Campbell responds to a comment made at Mumbrella Question Time last week that Melbourne has become ‘the new Adelaide’

Monday’s article on Mumbrella quoting a pitch consultant declaring that Melbourne is the “new Adelaide” sparked some interesting debate. It also upset its fair share of people from Adelaide, unimpressed about again being the butt of a very depressing joke.

Adelaide is a lovely place. But no one is going to argue that it’s the pinnacle of creativity. My guess is Melbourne would prefer not to wear a badge bearing its namesake.

So, as a former member of the Adelaide advertising fraternity, I thought I would offer some sage advice for how Melbourne about how it might avoid becoming too much like us.

Tip #1: Don’t leave all the old people in charge
From client-side to senior agency people all the way through to government and community boards, Adelaide does a terrific job of keeping old hats at the head of the table. As experienced as many of these people are, this isn’t exactly a recipe for new and fresh thinking. Melbourne, get yourself some young guns and put them in charge of some things. It’s amazing what difference it will make.

Tip #2: Don’t rely on your local clients
While watching a vintage “SA Great” commercial from the 80’s I noticed that most of the brands it featured have since moved interstate. Our industry has made the mistake of relying on (and being happy with) the handful of clients that remain. To grow, it needed to look interstate and overseas for bigger, exciting clients. Melbourne should pinch as much work from Sydney as it can.

Tip #3: Don’t play politics
Adelaide is great at politics. We’ve got our conventions, clubs and cliques, all carefully administered to make sure nothing, or at least not much, ever changes. It’s unspoken, of course, but it’s everywhere. Melbourne, when doing business make sure you forget what school people attended or what family they belong to
and try to work with people based on nothing more than merit.

Tip #4: Don’t celebrate mediocrity
Adelaide’s got a knack for patting itself on the back even when it’s not doing all that well. At the local AADC Awards the coveted Watering Can, an award handed out by the Club’s Presidents to someone for outstanding contribution to the advertising industry, was bizarrely presented to an unemployed 20-year old for starting a website. And the industry is still asking why. Melbourne, don’t forget to celebrate your greats – it’s an amazing way to inspire others.

Tip #5: Don’t be complacent
I was recently talking to a senior marketer returning to Adelaide after two decades abroad. He reminisced about the “Dunstan days”, when Adelaide was considered a creative hot bed. We were, but we got complacent. We got comfortable with our lot in the world and stopped trying. Most people think Melbourne is a bit of a creative hot bed. But if you want it to stay that way you will need to work for it.

So, Melbourne, I hope this helps. You should come visit some time.

PS. We’re still sore about the Grand Prix.

David Campbell is the former creative director of Fnuky who has left the industry to pursue a career in film

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