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Nick Worthington: A View From The Top

Trends and Insight 280 Add to collection

By Nick Worthington, creative chairman, Colenso BBDO

Nick Worthington: A View From The Top

One day you wake up and find yourself in a position of influence.

Exactly how you got there is unclear, but it's likely to have more to do with attrition than talent, but there you are nonetheless.

Head of a family, head of a company, head of an army of people.

The opportunity is fleeting, the machine that pushed you to the top keeps on turning.

Flawed, unprepared and facing perhaps the greatest opportunity of your life - what do you do?

You can simply run your company, make it the best it can be, hang on for as long as possible, influence the world as much as one company can.

Or you can connect with those others who have simultaneously found themselves at the top of their respective heaps and attempt to do something bigger than any one company or person ever can.


Pretty much every boardroom has Ban Ki Moon's 17 sustainable development goals like itches that need to be scratched.

Reduce pollution. Fight hunger. Tackle climate change. Create gender equality. Everyone is doing something. But if everyone did one thing you could make some real change.

Put the company ego away, instead put the problem you are keen to solve at the centre, and collaborate.

It seems strangely alien - rival companies coming together to solve mutual agendas - when it's such a blatantly obvious thing to do.

And somehow it allows everyone to achieve things at a scale that's simple beyond their individual reach.

201613700_1 (2).jpgThere is no way Heineken DB and Colenso BBDO could have produced, marketed and distributed a bio-fuel made from beer though petrol stations, let alone turn the mushy waste into bio-fuel fit for sale without serious help. We had to put the problem at the centre and find partners who shared the vision of replacing fossil fuels.

And there's no way a petrol company could have had beer drinkers flocking to their stations without the help of decent storytellers and a brewer.

Collectively boards of brewers, petrol companies, bio-fuel processors, media companies and brand agencies who had little or no previous connection, came together to achieve something none of them could do alone.

And each one got to tell their part of the bigger story from their own perspective, to their own industry, their own customers.

DB-Billboard-thumb-400x200-244441.jpgBeer Bottle Sand followed the same process. The problem was NZ beaches were being dredged for sand for the construction industry.

So, the first partner became NZ's biggest construction company, the second was the biggest distributor of readymix concrete.  

We then simply asked the country to empty bottles (25% of which go to landfill) and got them to another partner with the technology to crush the bottles back into sand for construction.

Right now, the government has set the target of 100% renewable electricity by 2035; Auckland Council wants it to happen by 2021.

80% of the electricity in the grid is already from renewables, so we're talking the last 20%.

Individually it's an impossible task, even for a government, collectively it should be a piece of cake.

Unsurprisingly many of our biggest clients are already grappling with their carbon footprint and emissions; we're helping them tell their stories and unlikely partnerships are forming behind this audacious goal.

A goal that the whole country would love to achieve - 100% Pure NZ.

The partners are coming on board, and the collective goal is clear.

And everyday someone else wakes up and realizes they are in charge -  albeit through attrition, and that if we work collectively this is the biggest and best opportunity of their lives.

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Colenso BBDO, Fri, 31 Aug 2018 01:58:29 GMT