Industry Profile: DDB Sydney executive creative director Matt Chandler

18 May 2021

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, adtech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to DDB Sydney executive creative director Matt Chandler.

Time in current role/time at the company:
I’ve been at DDB Sydney for seven years and I’ve been executive creative director for 44 days.

How would you describe what the company does?
DDB’s mantra is to drive growth for our clients by giving brands an emotional advantage. The way we do that is with sharp strategy and damn good creative work.

What do you do day-to-day?
Lots of different things, but at the end of the day I reckon my job is to foster the right environment for smart, driven creative people to do the best work of their lives for our clients.

Define your job in one word:

I got into advertising because:
Didn’t have the guts to be an artist.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Throughout the day, you’re moving from conversation to conversation about any number of different subjects – the work, the agency etc. The challenge is to be present in each one; to not bring bad vibes from another meeting into, say, a review with a creative team excited to share their ideas. Taking a second to reset before each conversation is what the people you’re speaking to next deserve.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
The list is long, the diversity of voices in our creative departments and the ways we collaborate with our clients to name only two. But (perhaps as a knock effect of those two things and others) our biggest problem is that vast swathes of the work we as an industry put out into the world makes no attempt to connect with, entertain or even acknowledge the intelligence of the people they’re talking to. That’s a challenge of our own making and one only we can take fix.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
M&C Saatchi Sydney, JWT and Saatchi’s in London.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
That’s another long list, but the Creative Director who gave me my first job, Paul Knights, really set me up for a career in advertising. He made me rewrite every script a hundred times and come up with fifty ideas before he’d approve one. It was torture at the time, but the skills and discipline he taught me were a big part of the reason anything good happened in the years following.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Don’t chase titles or money. Do the job that’s in front of you well and both those things will soon be chasing you.

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

My mantra is:
One thing at a time.

My favourite advert is:
The Yogo Gorilla Speed ad from my childhood is yet to be knocked off top spot.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
All the usual suspects, but a personal favourite is The Criterion Channel – a dream come true for film nerds.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
After working with the people here at DDB for so long, there are actually several things about me I wish they didn’t know.

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