News & Events




NYF: Why did you decide to accept the invite to NYF’s Executive Jury?

Justin: It’s always a privilege to spend time being inspired by the best creative thinking from any given year and to travel and meet and be inspired by fellow jurors.

NYF: Are awards shows and winning awards important and why?

Justin: The importance of any award and/or award show depends on the integrity and credibility of the organisation in question. Some set a respected standard for the best creativity from around the globe while others are a complete waste of time.

NYF: Are there any emerging trends this year that you think will be reflected in this year’s work?

Justin: There will continue to be work that has a meaningful impact on people and their community. This is the most difficult type of work to get right. And the most difficult to implement in a way that will have a long term benefit for the intended audience, so hopefully we will see more and more of it created in our industry. For example, I love the idea that France has reversed its policy on organ donations so that all people could become donors on their death unless they join an official register to opt out. It’s such a simple, brilliant, idea that will ultimately save many lives. This is the type of idea that some agencies have the ability to create. Maybe it was an agency behind this idea, I’m not sure about that.

NYF: How has the way that agencies approach marketing challenges for brands changed in the last few years?

Justin: There are the obvious challenges that come with the plethora of new platforms, channels and audience fragmentation etc. But the most important thing is still having the conversations about a client’s business and brand objectives as early as possible. And there has to be a level of trust, respect and understanding about what’s needed to reach their objectives. If you don’t have this from both parties, there’s no point in continuing the relationship because it will be next to impossible to create great work.

NYF: What’s the future of the advertising industry and how does it differ from when you first started in the business?

Justin: The future is exciting for the folks who embrace it and help shape it. There are now so many ways to create ideas, collaborate with talented artisans and reach an audience.

NYF: Why did you choose advertising as a career path?

Justin: It’s a playground for people who like creativity, commerce, writing, psychology, people, entertainment, technology, music, art and culture – the perfect fit for somebody diagnosed with ADHD.

NYF: What’s the best ad you ever created?  Can you share the ad?

Justin: Hopefully that’s still to come.

NYF: Who gave you your big break and what was the defining moment in your career?

Justin: In 2005 Andrew Denton - a famous TV producer and personality in Australia - bought a TV show that we created and wrote (with Scott Nowell founding partner at The Monkeys) and Tim Bullock (Director and founder of Scoundrel Films) and this set us off on a path that would influence and shape our agency for the next ten years. At the time we were working in a large multi-national agency and the movement towards clients being open to branded entertainment and longer format storytelling had begun so we capitalised on this from day one. The show (:30 Seconds) was critically acclaimed here (in Australia) and it opened the doors for us to create more TV shows, events, books, songs, short films, apps and anything that we are interested in.

By the time that Scott, Mark Green (the other founding partner of The Monkeys) and I were in our second year of business we had a unique position in the market and we’ve tried to build and nurture that every year since.

NYF: How do you or your agency champion young creative talent? Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in the business?

Justin: We have a very transparent culture so younger creative talent will be immediately exposed to the largest creative projects and the commercial realities that come with them. We also have a comprehensive induction for all staff so everybody who joins the agency understands the values and expectations that are a part of the culture. Once folks have joined us, we encourage entrepreneurial thinking and making ideas happen, rather than waiting around for the perfect brief to magically land on your desk.

If you’re starting out in the business, do everything you can to work with the people whose work you respect and admire. They will shape your values and taste for the rest of your career.   

NYF: What’s your favorite all time ad and why? (Can you share the ad?)

Justin: Nike Frozen Moments. I wasn’t working in the industry the first time I saw it but I remember thinking ‘Wow!’ It combined my love of basketball, storytelling and music in a way that still moves me today (almost 20 years later). I thought, ‘I’d love to create something that cool.’ And I’m still trying.

NYF: Anything else you would like to share/mention?

Justin: Looking forward to meeting my fellow jurors in New York and working with the NYFA team.