Industry Profile: Leo Burnett Sydney ECD Andrew Fergusson

21 April 2020

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, 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 Leo Burnett Sydney executive creative director Andrew Fergusson.

Time at the company:
Only a few months.

How would you describe what the company does?
At Leo’s, we believe creativity comes from having a strong understanding of human behaviour that we turn into transformative solutions for our clients. We call it ‘HumanKind’ thinking.

What do you do day-to-day?
I have a lot of meetings, generally centred around trying to make the idea better.

Define your job in one word:

I got into advertising because:
I spent most of my childhood making comic books and stop motion animations. Then one thing led to another.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Maintaining the quality of the work in a world of shrinking budgets, expanding touchpoints and shortened timelines.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Mental health is a huge issue in this industry. It feels like everyone I talk to (particularly in creative) has had serious bouts of anxiety or depression at some point in their career. It’s so prevalent that it almost comes across as a rite of passage (which is kinda messed up).

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
Droga5 New York, Droga5 Sydney, Whybin TBWA \ TEQUILA.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
Neil Heymann (global CCO of Droga5) has always been a great mentor to me. I’ve worked with him on and off throughout my entire career. Despite his tremendous success, he’s always maintained the same unassuming, humble, and curious nature. It’s a good reminder that you don’t always need to be the loudest voice in room to get ahead in this industry.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Occasionally, having talent and blind luck leads to success in this industry. More often than not, it’s simply about working harder and caring more.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Probably an animator.

My mantra is:
No matter how clever the idea or how amazing the craft, I always remind myself to ask the question; ‘why would anyone care about this?’

My favourite advert is:
Don’t really have a favourite, but Canal+ “The Bear” is a piece of work I find myself referencing a lot. From a non-film perspective, I always loved the cheeky audaciousness of ‘Whopper Sacrifice’.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?  
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify… I really miss HBO NOW.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
Despite my accent, I’m actually English.

In five years' time I'll be:
Hopefully still having fun.

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