MLA encourages brave hearts

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 10 April 2015

Meat and Livestock Australia marketer Andrew Howie has told marketers that they should all be prepared to be braver and take a step ahead of consumers, rather than playing catch-up. Marketers should also set up their teams and strategies to leave their brands in a better position than when they take them on, he reckons.

Howie, brand manager for Meat and Livestock Australia, was speaking at the the Australian Creative Excellence Showcase (ACES) awards, where MLA and The Monkeys were named the best cinema ad for its Australia Day campaign starring Richie Benaud. It was revelead today (10 April) that Benaud has died aged 84.

“We had some business challenges coming into this year after 10 years of Sam Kekovich leading a successful campaign,” said Howie.

“It takes a fair amount of bravery, moving away from something that’s proven successful, but it’s our job as advertisers and marketers to move on before consumers tell you it’s time to move on, so we shifted early.”

Speaking of MLA’s rich heritage of highly acclaimed and awarded ads, Howie said: “It’s a pretty good briefing session when you sit down and say: ‘Hey, we’ve raised the bar again, let’s keep raising it’. It’s important that we all champion great work and we need to keep doing that.”

Offering two pieces of advice to marketers, Howie, who before joining MLA was at Publicis Mojo and Clemenger BBDO, said the first thing is for marketers to be “brave champions of excellence”.

Second, he said, marketers have to create a culture that supports bravery, rather than anyone acting as a lone gunman, so that ideas can actually get across the line. “There’s plenty of businesses out there that need to do more risk-taking. You need to get out of your comfort zone, push the boundaries, that then becomes your new threshold for comfort.

“But you can’t just be the one-trick pony or the one guy that champions it or you’ll get hung out to dry. So it’s important to build a culture that supports it,” he said.

“I’m very lucky, I didn’t make MLA great at making great advertising – I’m a custodian for a period of time. But I try to champion the belief that you should leave a business in better shape than you take it on.

“I think if all marketers take on that attitude and say: ‘Where am I now and where do I want to be?’ then hand it over to someone to continue that, then I think the standards of the industry will continually increase.”

This story first appeared in the 3 April print edition of AdNews. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or get it immediately on iPad here.

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