Why I was drawn to advertising - Q&A with Business graduate Zac Kelly


Why I was drawn to advertising - Q&A with Business graduate Zac Kelly

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Zac KellyAccount Coordinator Zac Kelly studied Business at RMIT but has always been drawn to creativity and ideas. It wasn’t long before he realised a career in advertising was a natural fit. We recently caught up with Zac to chat about agency life, why he pursued AdSchool, and the opportunity to lead a creative brief for Mental Health Awareness Week.

TCC: How long have you been in the industry and in your current role?
I have been in the industry for a year and a half and in my current role, as Account Coordinator at PHD for 4 months.

TCC: What was your degree in?
I studied Business at RMIT, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Finance & Advertising.

TCC: What is the best thing about your job and being in the industry?
I enjoy the people that I work with and the creativity generated in the environment. I get exposed to very creative and innovative people who generously share their experiences and insights.

Recently at the World of Business Ideas (WOBI) conference I got to listen to Daniel Lamarre (President and CEO of Cirque Du Soleil Entertainment Group) talk about his process of innovation; take risks; think about how you can position yourself and your business; and have fun because otherwise life is boring. The best thing about the industry is it’s fun.

TCC: What made you want to get into the industry?
Creativity. In high-school my favourite subject was Creative Arts. I loved the process of forming an idea and working to implement it. I have also enjoyed marketing and business at University which seemed at odds with my love of creativity until I discovered advertising. My internship with M&C Saatchi Melbourne cemented my love of advertising as I was able to see how through a strategic lens creativity and business can work together.

TCC: What are your wider career goals?
Ultimately, I hope to be seen as someone who understands the industry and is sought out for my opinion but also plays a role in making the people and company I work for successful.

TCC: Who do you look up to in the industry?
Anna Cherry, Head of Strategy at PHD Melbourne. My first boss in the industry. Anna inspired me to enjoy reading, particularly in the areas of behavioural economics, advertising, and psychology.

Throughout my time working with her I can think of two great pieces of advice which have really stuck with me:
1. For working in industry: “Keep asking why.” This was also continuously touched on in the
course and provides the basis for quality insights; and
2. For life: “Don’t work in an industry or workplace you are not enjoying”

TCC: What are your main sources of career inspiration?
Here are my top three podcasts, top three books and top blog.

- Adage ad lib: The starting jingle is great.
- Movidium: Perfect for the 15-20-minute tram ride.
- Freakonomics: Really interesting and very popular.

Top three books:
- How Brands Grow: Provides evidence-based answers to marketing. For example, broad
reach can be more effective than targeting.
- Predatory Thinking: Very hard to put down.
- A Master Class in Brand Planning: Halfway through and it is great so far. Collated articles of Stephen King one of the founders of brand planning. Lots of interesting content on history as well as practical tools for anyone who works with brands.

- Jim Carroll’s blog: Condenses great ideas into really insightful posts. Recommended by my
old Managing Director Andy Cairns at M&C Saatchi Melbourne. The latest blog entry:

TCC: What motivates you on both a daily basis and to keep striving towards your goals?
The opportunity to solve a new challenge. I love being put outside of my comfort zone and learning new things.

TCC: What made you want to do the Core Strategic Planning course?
A strategist at M&C Saatchi Sydney was completing the course and encouraged me to give it a go. She explained that I would meet a bunch of new people and learn the important fundamentals of creative strategy and it was great fun.

TCC: How would you describe it in a nutshell?
Lifetime of valuable knowledge jam-packed into 8 weeks.

TCC: What was the best thing about it?
I can’t pick one, it is between the people and the final pitch. Learning in a collaborative environment with completely different people was great. Designing the final strategic plan for eBay was the perfect way to apply the information and insights we learnt during the course. I am going to miss the Tuesday night classes and I ended up with some great friends, laughs and drinks.

TCC: What was the number one thing you were able to apply in your day to day work?
The ability to turn data and information into insights. Kate Smither showed us that data alone is useless. Through asking ‘why’ we can discover the human behaviour behind the data and drive business changing solutions. Since completing the course I found I have been able to go beyond just information and use research and analysis to uncover insights that provide opportunities to optimise future campaigns.

TCC: What is your favourite project/campaign you’ve worked on to date?
Smiling Mind (a mindfulness application) 2018 Mental Health awareness week. This was one of the first jobs where I led the creative brief. The problem was people didn’t have enough time in their busy lives to be mindful but Smiling Mind provided a solution. People touch their phones over 2500 times every day and use social media for over two hours a day but still don’t have time for themselves. There was an opportunity for people to take ten minutes out of worrying about others and put it into improving their state of mind.

TCC: What’s your passion outside of work?
Apart from having an interest in reading new books on behavioural economics, psychology and advertising, I am really enjoying bouldering. For those who don’t know, bouldering is no harness rock climbing with walls around 2-3 metres high. I do this with my two brothers because we love a bit of competition but unfortunately, I am at the worst at the moment… we will see how long that lasts.

The AdSchool Core Strategic Planning course is running in Sydney and Perth from July 18. Spaces limited; book now
For course details, dates and registration information, visit the AdSchool page on our website.

Core Strategic Planning

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