This time last week I was sitting patiently in the reception of one of Sydney’s most exciting creative agencies, finding it impossible to ignore the conversation to the right of me: “OK, who was the drunkest last night and who is the most hung-over today?” demanded the leader of a large-ish gathering. Sniggers and a lot of finger-pointing followed, relating to inappropriate groping and career-ending karaoke (perhaps I have that the wrong way round?). It was determined that Alex had been the drunkest so he was sent out for team coffees, while Emma was the most hung-over so they began the meeting with her report.
It occurred to me that I was eavesdropping on a legitimate weekly meeting process, not a Friday morning gossip session. I smiled to myself admiring their ability to embrace the reality of the industry. There’s nowhere to hide so you may as well use it constructively. It’s this attitude that gets shit done, and no-one has more of it than the Aussies – in my unbiased opinion. We’re a proud nation and January (it seems) is the month where we celebrate being Australian the most.
The post-Christmas month is about the best time to be an Aussie in Australia. There’s a festive sun-drenched vibe that sees people flock to the beach after work for fish and chips and a few coldies, or down to the Opera House for pop-up Mexican and Margaritas. We just don’t want the sun to go down or the party to end. Inevitably it does and you land yourself a sore head and sunburnt shoulders.
This is the time of year when former Aussie Rules player and sports commentator Sam Kekovich pops his head up to fight the battle against unAustralian behaviour as the Lambassador for Meat and Livestock Australia. ‘Lambnesia’
from BMF Sydney is the latest instalment in its eight-year campaign. What does Mr Kekovich do for the rest of the year? When you see his big mug on telly you know it’s time to get the stubbies in the ‘esky’ [ice box, for the non-Antipodeans], fire up the barby and tune-in to Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown to commemorate Australia Day. The event marks the First Fleet’s arrival in Sydney Cove in 1788 – although the sentiment does get a little drowned out by all the VB, lamb chops and pavlova.
Cricket, cycling and tennis dominated conversations over the last four weeks. Shane Warne returned with a new face and the same attitude, Victoria Azarenka ‘cheated’ her way to a back-to-back Australian Open title and cyclists in South Australia’s Tour Down Under rode on despite Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong…
My personal highlight was the Australian Open Men’s Final last Sunday. I particularly loved watching blistered Scot Andy Murray and the now four-time Australian Open Champion Novak Djokovic enthuse about the amazing tournament Melbourne put on. It was almost as entertaining as the congratulatory speech from Kia Motors Vice President & CEO Mr Thomas Oh. Kia launched its first local brand campaign exclusively during the Australian Open via Innocean Australia. I’m glad they’ve extended sponsorship of the event
so I can see him again next year.
I now sit in Little Black Book’s London office relaying meetings and conversations I had with various Australian agencies, production, post and sound companies. I’m unable to convey that look in their eyes when they were telling me about upcoming projects and plans for 2013. Most revolved around expansion to Asia, branded content and creative technology - which all sounds pretty exciting to me.
I’ve certainly come to understand one thing about this wonderful nation of mine that might help the rest of you out: Australian cockiness is often mistaken for arrogance but I firmly believe we just don’t know how to tone down the pride.