Young Guns: MediaCom senior creative Taylor Thornton

By AdNews | 20 April 2017
Taylor Thornton

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.

For our last Young Gun, we spoke to  Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) director of social media Chris Ledlin.

This time we chat to MediaCom senior creative Taylor Thornton.

How long have you been in the industry?

Five years

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Just over a year / five years.

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

I was working as an offline media buyer at MediaCom and in my spare time I graduated from AWARD School. I then asked Shelby Craig, a creative at MediaCom, to mentor me and pestering and hassling him to help out on any briefs. After a few months of chipping in on odd jobs they decided to make it official and offered me a job as a junior creative – perseverance and passion pays off.. I’m still here three and half years later, now a senior creative with a junior who I’m coaching and mentoring and loving it.

Define your job in one word:

Storytelling.

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?

It’s chaotic and crazy so I thought you had to be loud for people to listen. I wasn’t sure if the quietly adventurous would go unnoticed.

How does the reality match up? 

I feel like there’s a bit of a revolution happening at the moment and the introverts will rise.

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?

When I explain it to people outside the industry I still think it’s just as relevant and simple. We make the right thing for the right person and give it to them at the right time. I’m part of the team that makes stuff.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

I’ve managed to jag trips to Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand for film productions and training for the last three years, meeting weird and wacky people from all walks of life. This gives you the sort of creative energy to feed off for months or even years. If you can mix work and travel you’re onto something.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

When I started out I had tunnel vision and was a little hot-headed. Once I could contain my emotions I could redirect my energy, turn obstacles into assets and get into a ‘flow’ and be far more productive. I realised you learn far more from your failings than your success.

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?

I’d dive head first into production. There are so many wizards that quietly go about their craft but when it all comes together it’s pure magic.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?

Unconventional creative partnerships. The art and copy thing will still exist but a team without titles coming together to solve a problem is what keeps me coming back.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

We often forget that we work for our client’s audience. That’s a HUGE difference to working to please our clients. This means having the balls to have honest, hard conversations. I actually think clients will respect us for challenging them rather than appeasing them and the relationship. Both agency and clients must always listen to the people that truly matter and remember that the audience ALWAYS curates what’s good – not Cannes, not creative directors and certainly not anonymous commentators on industry blogs.

Who's your right hand person/who guides you day to day?

My little bro Bede. Beyond having a cooler name than me he has tons of ideas in his vault that I try to coerce out of him. We’ve got a bunch of side projects we work on together and we keep each other in check.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

Shelby Craig – my first boss, a cruisy Californian Aussie with a cool head under pressure. When you start out in the industry it’s a bit like a pinball machine. You’re launched into the bright lights, you get bounced around from side to side a lot and you can fall into holes. It’s important to have someone to help you navigate those early years.

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

The logical answer is being a creative director but nothing about what we do or where things are going will be linear– to be honest I reckon the world could probably do with a few less egos and hierarchy. I’m not attached to titles. I want to be in a role where I am a listener, a doer, and maker. With the sheer volume of content being created we’re going to have to address hierarchy to keep pace. Mistakes will be made but fall hard, learn fast I say. It’ll be scrappy whilst it evolves but people clanging onto aging frameworks will fall off.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.

How to sustainably win business. It’s like climate change, decisions based on greedy short term economic gains are destructive and pillage the long term health of our industry. We must put personal self-interest aside. Don’t we want to leave this industry in a healthier place than what we found it?

Where do you turn for inspiration?

Goodreads. It’s the Facebook for book lovers and avid readers; a place to get all geeky and nerdy. When you need a pick me up you open the app and there’s a quote from a literary genius – it’s the perfect way to refuel and keep track of your reading list. Just now we had; “That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” ~ Jhumpa Lahiri.

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

When I was a kid to a youngish adult I’d just plough through a cupcake and completely devour the paper. I always wondered why there wasn’t cupcake flavored chewing gum? Not everyone’s thing but I’m sure it’ll be a thing one day.

Favourite advert is:

Before the Game – Beats by Dre. The world speaks football. Side tip - whenever you travel pack a football – the best way to make friends.

What’s your personal motto?

Make memories, not money.

I got into the industry because:

My three year journey to scoring a gig as junior creative was spurred by a hypnotic Heineken ad in 2010. It stopped me dead. It put me in a complete trance. I just needed to know how they pulled it off. I went on a ferocious online stalk to deep and dark places and hunted down everyone from the agency (W+K) and found out what they did – I was hooked. This was art. I wanted to do what they were doing and if I could make a life around doing it that’d be a bonus.

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

Writing children’s book and novels or being a professional lifeguard.

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