Growing up in Sydney to a father who had a graphic design business put Cheil’s Julian Schuchard in good stead for a career in creativity. The now creative director at the agency has had a pretty international career with stints in London, New York, San Francisco and more. During this time he’s moved away from the creative side of the business and onto digital, a sector he believes is playing an ‘even bigger part in marketing’.
LBB’s Natasha Patel caught up with him to hear more on that and Julian’s career.
LBB> Let's go back to the start, where did you grow up and did creativity play a part in those early years?
Julian> I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia which is a beautiful part of the world to grow up in. My family moved every couple of years because my mother flipped houses, so I became very adept at meeting new people and learnt a great deal about construction. My father had a graphic design business so I was surrounded by design in both physical form (interior design and architecture) and print. My love affair for both has never left me as my career is steeped in design and I continue to build houses every couple of years.
LBB> What was your first role in the industry and what did those early years teach you?
Julian> My first job in the industry was for a company called Singleton Advertising which was later acquired by WPP. I started at the bottom cutting out art work and mounting it (with toxic spray glue) onto giant foam core boards for presentations. I absolutely loved it. There was always a buzz in the air and it was fascinating to see an idea develop from concept to execution.
These amazingly talented people not only crafted brilliant ideas but they mastered the art of selling. I learnt how to tackle problems with creative solutions.
LBB> You've had a pretty international career...tell us more about the locations you've worked in.
Julian> I have been fortunate enough to work in some wonderful places around the world including Sydney, London, New York, Detroit, LA and San Francisco. I was CD at Spinifex Group then relocated to NY to start their agency presence there and it was a thrilling city to live in. Immersed in creativity and urgency, there are few places on earth quite like it.
However, my favourite place to live and work will always be San Francisco. A city surrounded by stunning nature, drenched in technology, creativity, moral appreciation and wild contradictions. SF, you’ll always have a place in my heart.
LBB> Recently you changed your focus from the creative side of the industry to digital/engagement. What does this look like to you?
Julian> In my opinion, digital engagement will continue to grow and play an even bigger part in marketing. Now more than ever, consumers want more and expect more from brands. While the majority of consumers demand environmentally conscious companies, they also want to be engaged, entertained and informed.
After global lockdowns and Covid restrictions, online commerce exploded but now there is a shift and people want to experience things again. This is where digital and experiential come together for the ultimate brand experience. I see a future where brands that ignore this physical and digital space will lose market share. This is good news for creatives because the canvas becomes so much bigger, the communication with consumers becomes more intimate. We’re not just selling on a screen, we’re offering an experience.
LBB> How much has this changed since the start of your career to now and what is driving the digital sector at the moment?
Julian> Both experiential and digital have gone through a massive evolution since the beginning of my career. Digital in particular has gone from a rather obscure piece of the marketing puzzle to being a key part of your marketing mix.
Experiential was almost non-existent and usually only guerrilla tactics. Content has always played an important role but moved from the traditional 30sec TV spot to multiple formats and multiple devices. I think the constant demand for content, immersion and personalisation is driving the digital sector and will continue to do so into the future.
LBB> Tell us more about the Volkswagen campaign you did in New York?
Julian> The Volkswagen campaign was launched at the International New York Automotive Show. The brief was to celebrate and reveal the seventh version of the VW Golf in front of the international press. The budget was tight but the creative restrictions were few. We were given a blank stage and a car. At the time it was the first real car projection mapping in the world and we were learning on the fly with 16 separate projectors. It was a lot of fun and well received with over two million views in a few days.
LBB> As the creative director of Cheil Australia, whose top client is Samsung, what does your role look like on a daily basis?
Julian> As the CD of Cheil Australia, who are partly owned by Samsung, we are dedicated to servicing the business. Samsung are a complex and fascinating company with top of line products in multiple verticals, so it takes a full agency to handle the marketing. On a daily basis we are either launching a new product in the IM division (Mobile devices & Wearables) or focusing on the best-selling TVs in the world. It’s always exciting with a lot of variety because of the huge range of products.
Cheil itself is going through a very exciting period as we aim to expand our client base and add more staff. 2022 looks to be an exciting time for our agency and the industry as a whole.
LBB> Who is your creative hero and why?
Julian> I have bunch of creative heroes but I’ll name a few…
From a purely creative level, it’s hard to go past Ridley Scott. I love his films from both a story telling aspect and visual theatre. I would also have to mention Denis Villeneuve who did an amazing job in Blade Runner 2049.
Someone from the past… well it’s easy to say someone really famous but David Ogilvy reinvented the business of advertising and I’ve always been interested in effective creative and strategic business smarts.
Someone who is alive and thriving today in advertising would be Jason Marks who is the CCO at Laundry Service NY. A friend and an incredible creative mind.
LBB> Outside of work, what is life like for you?
Julian> I have my hands full with a three-year-old who constantly brings me back to what’s important in life. I am devoted to my family and love every minute of being a dad. In my down time from work my outside passion is still architecture and building. We recently moved into a ‘70s inspired house that’s crying out for some love.
LBB> Any parting thoughts?
Julian> I truly believe that we are entering a new phase of the advertising industry. There are sayings about all ideas being done before but I think we are entering a time of firsts. It’s an exciting future and I hope the talented people I share this industry with feel the same.