Category Archives: AdGrads

Where are they now? Check out these profiles of graduates from the advertising program at Macleay College.

AdGrad: Alexandra Mounsey at JWT

Alexandra was a vibrant and energetic student who changed her study path from physiotherapy to advertising. She revelled in the creative projects, but at heart she always wanted to become an Account Manager. Today, only a year out of college she is an Account Executive at the agency JWT.

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Tell us about working at one of the world’s most famous advertising agencies.

 J. Walter Thompson is a full service advertising agency, that aims to be the antidote to the indifference people show towards advertising. The agency is full of vibrant, creative and strategic sorts.

 Can you describe your role?

I’m essentially like Gandalf in that I act as the liaison between the client and the agency, I know their brand like the back of my hand, I brief the peeps, oversee creative development and production, on top of that, throw budget and timings in the mix and voila! I’m an account executive.

What have been some of the highlights so far?

Definitely being on my first big budget TVC shoot. I had waaay too much enthusiasm! Honestly, day-to-day in office is a highlight, it’s an awesome vibe. I love the people I work with and there’s usually a dog running around. Once every few months the agency gets together to score ads from around the world – such a great opportunity to see how people’s experiences are reflected in their perception of  ‘good advertising’. These sessions are always intriguing; after all, it’s what we’re passionate about!

 What are your future career goals?

New York, New York! Would love to join my mates Peggy and Don on Madison. Potentially dabble in TV production. Also, PARIS. This has been an (often voiced) goal since I was about 12 years old. It just has a little “je ne sais quoi”.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?

I started out living in my teeny tiny hometown, studying physiotherapy at uni. And then I discovered that advertising, Sydney, and infuriating parking was for me! Macleay offers a really practical learning experience, unrivalled class interaction, feedback and facilities, and incredible lecturers who all work in the industry. After finishing the Diploma of Advertising, I went on to graduate with the Bachelor of Media Communications and feel that this definitely gave me the skills I needed to get ahead, and the curiosity to learn the rest.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

One of our final assignments at Macleay was to produce our own TVC. We decided upon the small task of advertising a car. Attempting to keep within the category norms, we quickly learned that our lack of post production budget (zero dollars and zero cents), helicopter shots and camera crew made for a very compromised kind of ‘home-movie’. We had a lot of fun shooting it.

Click here to find out more about the advertising course at Macleay College.

AdGrad: Robert Concepcion goes to NYC

Robert Concepcion came to Macleay College to focus his graphic design skills towards becoming an Art Director in Advertising. After having a stellar start at “The Monkeys” agency in Sydney, he has now moved on to “Anomaly” in New York. So what’s next?

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Robert is pictured here with his advertising lecturer Julieann Brooker at “The Monkeys” in Sydney.

Where are you currently working and what do they specialise in?

Anomaly NYC.

They’re more than your traditional agency. They have an in-house production house that produces a series of TV shows and other online content plus an arm that delves into product design. Anomaly doesn’t hire ad people – but talent. Anyone with influence and smarts can be found hanging out in the kitchen. Artist, Kevin Lyons sits two desks away from me and we just hired ex soccer pro Edgar Davids. 

Can you describe your role at your current job?

I’m a senior art director at Anomaly NYC. The role varies. Monday I might be trying to crack a launch idea for a sneaker, Thursday I might be coming up with a new supplement range to be stocked on the shelf. Saturday I’ll most definitely be racking my brain because I hadn’t cracked the brief from Monday. A lot of Idea generation in many areas.

What have been some of the highlights at your current job?

Being exposed to the creative talent around me is a huge highlight. Everyone has something to offer and someone to learn from. And I’m working in NYC – it’s such a great city.

Robert in NYC

Can you describe your career path to get to where you are now?

Hard work. Luck. Hard work. Repeat.

What has it been like moving countries to follow your career ambitions?

In hindsight the move wasn’t too bad – at the time I was freaking out, stressing about whether if I was good enough or not. But I’ve found being thrown in the deep-end is the best thing because you’re forced to perform at your best and the doubt disappears.

What are your future career goals?

The career goal posts shift every day. There’s so much on my plate right now it’s best to focus on ‘now ‘- do that right and everything should fall into place.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?

I think I Googled ‘advertising courses’ after a TAFE teacher told me I should go to college. Macleay College has played a significant role in helping me discover the facets of advertising at a young age to make me realise I wanted to be in the creative side of advertising.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

The friends I made along the way will always be the best memories.

What is your advice to students wanting to study advertising and launch themselves into an international career?

Don’t be afraid to collaborate. It’s the best way to make your ideas stronger and learn new skills. Very rarely has one person executed a campaign, product or song on their own. In saying so, make sure those people you surround yourself with are the best people.

Click here to find out more about the advertising course at Macleay College.

AdGrad: Callam Hanks getting social at Soap Creative

Callam Hanks was one of the leading creative students in his year at Macleay College. He had come from completing a Certificate 4 in Graphic Design but wanted to hone his skills and learn how to become an Art Director in Advertising.  After connecting with the Social Media Lecturer Tom Ragg, he went on to complete an internship at Soap Creative, where he is now employed as a Social Media Coordinator.

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Tell us about Soap Creative?

Soap Creative is a full-service digital agency. We have a great reputation for making games and fun stuff.

What do you do there?

My title is Social Media Coordinator. I manage some of Australia’s biggest Facebook pages: Xbox Australia, Nutella and Dare Iced Coffee to name just a few. I also work with the creative team on content for the pages. But Social Media work isn’t all I do at Soap. I’ve had the opportunity to also work on some big projects that have come through the agency.

What have been the highlights so far at your current job?

There’s been so many. The earliest highlight I remember was helping to develop the online experience for the Australian movie “These Final Hours”. It simulated living through the last 6 months on earth via your desktop. To make it feel real, 100’s of video, articles, chat messages and other notifications needed to be created. You can check it out here: http://thesefinalhours.com.au/

Recently, I was able to work on an open brief for a company that I’d loved as a kid (I have to keep it top secret). But I sat down in a meeting and was basically told: “Here’s the brief, think of the coolest things you can, money isn’t an issue”.

I’ve been able to test games here too, which let me fulfil a childhood dream of being paid to play video games.

What are your future career goals?

My goal is to someday be a Creative Director, but before that an Art Director or Copywriter. At Soap I currently get the chance to work on developing skills for all of these jobs. I’d love to work in New York someday and it’s always been a dream of mine to work at W&K in Portland.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?

I started studying at Macleay because of the short course time, some positive things I’d heard and the fact that the  lecturers are all active in their fields of professional expertise. One of those lecturers ended up hiring me, so I’d be lying if I said I’d be at Soap right now without Macleay.

 What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

Some of my best memories are being able to work with lecturers each day at Macleay. There’s a level of collaboration and feedback in the classroom that would be hard to find anywhere else.

Postscript: One of Callam’s most impressive projects while he was at college was to create a social media campaign about his pug dog, names Poncho. Click here to check it out.

Click here to find out more about the advertising course at Macleay College.

AdGrad: Taylor Rogers at The Station

Taylor arrived at Macleay College to study advertising – wanting to own his own advertising agency one day. After completing the diploma, then continuing with Macleay’s pathway agreement to a B.A. at SCU he seems to be well on his way.

Where are you currently working ?

I work at The Stati1b10e6fon Agency, a shopper marketing agency in Surry Hills. Shopper marketing involves strategically targeting shoppers at different touch points all the way from remote locations to the at-shelf destination within the store. It involves Point of Sale and experiential sampling activations. Shopper marketing is big in the UK and even bigger in the US. Its only in its infancy in Australia and has only been regarded as it own discipline within the last 5 years. The Station Agency are the number 1 shopper agency in Australia.

What is your current role ?

I am an Account Executive and work within one of two client service teams. My role is to first and foremost be the link between the agency and the client throughout the creative process. My job is to manage time and budgets, as well as strategic and creative input to ensure each element of the shopper campaign is delivered above and beyond what the client expects. Further to these day to day responsibilities I act as the eyes and ears of the agency when it comes to industry knowledge. A decent portion of my time goes toward business development and ensuring that we stay on top.

What have been some of the highlights at your current job?

The challenges of having to master a new marketing discipline, although difficult at times, has been extremely rewarding. I have been given the opportunity to get in early and grow with a rapidly expanding agency. I have worked previously in both media and digital agencies although not in client services. I can honestly say the rate at which I am learning new skills and the critique of already existing skills is phenomenal.

What are your future career goals ?

In terms of career goals and where I’d love to end up, I am always changing my mind as I learn more about the industry and agencies. Right now I would have to say I am aiming at a Head of Client Services role. Ultimately running campaigns that involve large above-the-line experiential activations incorporating both above and below the line elements including digital, social and traditional mediums such as TV would be great.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay ?

To be honest, I left school not knowing what I wanted to do. My careers advisor at school had always spoke highly of Macleay and so I went along to an open day, then shortly after I enrolled in the Diploma of Advertising. I then fell in love with the world of advertising and all its perks. The diploma provided me with the necessary skills and understanding to work in any agency. I then went on to complete the Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications through Southern Cross University, which provided an even broader education as to how the media interacts with the rest of the world and the powerful affect it can have, including the power of advertising.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

Idea generation and flesh out sessions with guest lecturer Tom Ragg, where I presented a WD40 Endless Uses concept I had been developing which actually landed me my first job as a Junior Community manager at Soap Creative. Tom was, and still is, Head of Social Media at Soap Creative. 

Click here to find out more about the advertising course at Macleay College.

AdGrad: Kean Edwards at Razorfish

Kean was a bit of maverick while studying advertising at Macleay College, he excelled in both the creative and account management subjects, and now finds himself working in User Experience at the Sydney agency Razorfish.

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What’s it like working at Razorfish?

Razorfish is a full service digital agency in Sydney’s beautiful Walsh Bay. We specialise in the convergence of creativity, technology and media to transform our client’s business, including eBay, Qantas, Samsung, Wesfarmers and Yahoo7.

What have been the highlights so far?

When I graduated from Macleay, I wasn’t really sure where I saw myself fitting into advertising with interests in both creative and account management.  I was then very excited to be selected into the Communications Council graduate program and got the job at Razorfish. This allowed me to experience life across the whole agency. I was able to rotate throughout the departments, getting experience in account management, production, strategy, social media, creative and user experience. It’s been a great experience.

What’s your current role?

I am currently working in User Experience (UX). What really drew me to UX was the blend of strategic and creative thinking. UX is all about really understanding the needs, goals and pains of the customer – so you can create an experience (whether that be a microsite, website or app) for users that actually solve their problems. On a day-to-day basis I can be in brainstorming meetings, interviewing our clients’ customers, building wireframes or even facilitating workshops with clients.

What are your future plans?

I want to continue building a great portfolio of work with our amazing clients in Sydney, but my 5 year plan is definitely to move overseas and work. I am fortunate to work for a global agency with Razorfish, which has offices in over 100 cities internationally. So I have plenty of options.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay ?

Choosing Macleay College was an easy decision. I knew I wanted to work in the advertising industry and wanted to get started as soon as possible and not be stuck in Uni for 3 years. Macleay has amazing lecturers who, unlike in universities, are still working in the industry. They really gave me a real world understanding of advertising. Every course we studied was practical so when I got into my workplace I felt confident and ready to go. 

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

My favourite project while studying at Macleay was probably working with the agency Grey Healthcare Group on a new pharmaceutical entering the Australian market called Latisse. It was a competitive pitch and we were all briefed to create a one page print ad. I was lucky to work with the Group Account Director who mentored me and gave my alot of guidance in the research stage. We pitched our ideas in front of the whole agency which was really fun and fortunately, the hard work paid off and I won the pitch.

Click here to find out more about the advertising course at Macleay College.

AdGrad: Katrina Fowler

After spending 3 years at university, Katrina Fowler was attracted to Macleay Advertising’s short course time. In just 12 months, Katrina had completed a diploma of advertising, gained industry experience and secured a job at Southern Cross Austereo.

What’s your day like as Copywriter at Southern Cross Austereo?

A normal day in the job is a long one, but that’s how I love it. We come in the morning and its straight to my emails. There’s a lot of back and forth between Account Managers and clients, making sure we advertise the product correctly and to the best of our ability.

I spend most of my day addressing briefs for Account Managers, I write creative solutions to there business problems. The rest of my day is broken up between production and voicing. I’m lucky in the sense that I’m allowed some time in production producing ads and watching the masters at work. That’s something you learn fast in my industry, you’re always learning. I’m also used to voice acting as I’ve done some acting in the past.

So I do a bit of everything in my job. There’s never a dull day in advertising. I’m doing something I love and it took less than a year at Macleay to get here.

Why did you choose to study at Macleay?

I chose to study at Macleay College because of the short course time. The intense, fast-track advertising diploma meant I could be out in the workforce doing what I love in just 12 months. That’s an amazing opportunity, especially because I already spent 3 years studying. I wanted to focus my studies, but I didn’t want to spend another 3 years as a student.

What did you enjoy most about Macleay?

I enjoyed learning from the industry professionals at Macleay. The teachers don’t just lecture, they are also all currently working in the industry. Not only was I getting up to date relevant information, I was learning from real situations – not just something scribbled in a text book.

I also enjoyed being able to work with the other students in the course. It’s a cliché, but true – I’ve made lifelong friends at Macleay as we all have similar passions.

The other part of it is the people I’ve met at Macleay – not just the other students but my lecturers. They genuinely wanted me to do well and get where I was going. I’ve never had so much personal help from lectures before. They truly inspired me to work for what I wanted.

How did the course help you prepare for your current role?

Again, I would have to say for the industry professionals. I was taught how to act in my industry’s environment. That’s not something taught at universities – it’s a life skill. I can’t imagine anywhere else that could teach you such invaluable information in under a year.

What’s the most interesting part of your job?

The most interesting part of my job is the people I work with. Creative people are super unique, so when we all get together it’s crazy, but so much fun. I’m lucky I get to work in a job I love, with great people, and that’s hardly ‘work’. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Macleay College.

What’s your career goal?

My career goals change daily. My end goal would be to own my own company or agency.

I’ve always been one to aim high and the lecturers at Macleay encourage that too. No one ever told me I couldn’t do something. They showed me how to start and I’ve learnt that as long as I put in the effort I can get there.

Click here to find out more about the advertising course at Macleay College.

AdSpeaks: Successful Ad-Grad James McInerney returns

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Macleay Advertising students recently had the privilege of hearing from a successful advertising graduate, James Mclnerney. In a short period of after graduating from the Diploma of Advertising, James went on to become a strategist and a producer at the production company KONTENTED, and is now coming up with ideas and producing content videos and television commercials with people like Red Foo and Katy Perry. Having James speak of the new job opportunities within the advertising industry, which combine a number of areas of skills such as conceptualizing and producing, was inspiring. I know of a few fellow students (and myself) that aren’t quite sure which area of advertising we want to go into just yet, so to have James come in and speak about the many new opportunities that are becoming available in our industry has made us really want to broaden our own set of skills.  Also the fact that James decided to build on from his career as a DJ and study advertising at the age of 30 has really inspired me to always keep studying and learning new things, even when you are working in industry. The lesson that I took home from James is that you should never give up on what you want.

Sarah Zaait, Advertising Student.