Young Guns: AWARD School winner Tom Lawrence

By AdNews | 17 October 2017
Tom Lawrence

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the buzzing young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

Today we speak to AWARD school winner Tom Lawrence.

You were recently named Australia's Top Student at the 2017 Award School National Announcement. What doors has this opened for you?

It has been a whirlwind journey since the announcement. It was so strange to think that only four months ago I was doing something completely different and did AWARD school at more or less of a whim. I was shocked by the result and the subsequent doors that have been opened. The result meant I have met some of the world’s best creatives both here in Sydney and during my time in NYC.

As part of your win, you got to meet David Droga. What words of wisdom did he pass on?

The best piece of advice from David was to not allow yourself to be pigeonholed. To not just be the comedy guy or the TV guy but to try your best just to be the smart guy. Now it might not be as easy as just deciding to be the smartest one in the room but I think the idea of having a breadth of skills and interests is a good one.

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been working in and around media for about four years but have not worked in a traditional advertising agency.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

I have been running the Proudly Pokies Free campaign for about a year now and have been freelancing for almost three years.

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?

Before the campaign I was working for a small agency called WoodyTV that produced content for NGOS. Getting the job at Proudly Pokies Free was fairly easy as my sister and I started the campaign.

Define your job in one word:


What's exciting you about the advertising industry right now?

I feel now more than ever there is an opportunity to present effective and meaningful work. We are in the business of creative problem solving and there are just so many more canvases at our disposal to communicate great ideas.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

You can catastrophise about any industry but I think as long as there is a commitment to effective strategy and original thinking, the future is looking good. While the structure of agencies will probably have to constantly adapt, if we remain passionate about creativity and are not wedded to tradition we should be fine. Well at least until the robots take over.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

Any idea that puts problem solving first and the medium it exists in last. For me it could be a coaster, a statue, a TV ad or hashtag. I connect with clear, simple and effective ideas in whatever form they come.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

About a year ago I dislocated my shoulder…. I was rollerblading.

Favourite advert is:

There is no favourite so I am going to choose the first TV ad that came to mind. This is very outdated but it is funny and memorable with brilliant timing. Love it.

What’s your personal motto?

“Never let yourself have a personal motto” or “Don’t be a dick”.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because:

I saw it as the perfect opportunity to work with smart, young and creative people, creating engaging and meaningful work.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

Making documentaries and whittling wood.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?

I think you might need to check back in with me in six months. It is too hard to say at this point but I hope that in the next three years I get the opportunity to learn from the best and get some good work out the door.

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