Perspective - The hot pink paint still drying on the office sign

Laura Aldington, Simone Gupta, Jon Austin.

The AdNews end of year Perspectives, looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.

With the hot pink paint still drying on our new office sign, it’s difficult to look back on the year we launched a brand new creative studio and see perspectives beyond that.

From our viewpoint as co-founders of Supermassive, 2023 has been positively McConaughey-esque in its sheer volume of green lights and alright alright alrightness.

We’ve been invited to speak at SXSW and to work on some of our favourite brands.

We’ve learned how to set up IT, how to boss Xero, and how to make scented candles.

We’ve discovered that LinkedIn much prefers posts about your preferred way of eating pancakes over a well considered and crafted op-ed (apart from this one, obvs ).

But beyond pancake eating and candle making, there have been some perspectives that have extended beyond our four walls and are starting to gain traction in the industry.

We’ve seen that, while this industry can be cruel and anonymous and insecure, more and more frequently, it’s kind and collegiate and generous. We were blown away by the incredible support we were shown from day one by the lovely people at Special, Finch, Howatson+Co, Cocogun, Filmgraphics, M&C Saatchi and more. And the trust and encouragement we've had from our founding client team at P&O Cruises has been second to none. It’s this sense of community that appears to be growing in many pockets of our industry, and we’re absolutely here for it.

Creating an inclusive future was a theme that saw both soaring highs and crushing lows.

The Shift 20 Initiative led by Special Group and the Dylan Alcott Foundation, and backed by the nation’s biggest brands, was a testament to the power of creativity, community and shared vision. Conversely, one of the lowlights of the year was the referendum and the division it brought among the media and marketing community. It was a big reminder we have a long way to go, and a serious responsibility as an industry when it comes to policies we put in place as employers, how we behave as content producers when it comes to representation, and the actions we have to take to create an equitable environment for all.

We’ve found that one of the few upsides of the pandemic and recent talent shortage is that clients and employees no longer expect everyone to be in the same room. Some of the best talent out there no longer sits inside a traditional agency structure (or wants to), which means there is a literal world of incredible talent out there if you’re willing to adapt.

While we have a permanent, consistent client service bench, we’re taking advantage of the opportunity by building best-in-class teams around the requirements of the work, rather than simply foisting clients with the teams we have.

But most of all, it’s been a joy leaning into our distinctive creative philosophy: ‘disproportionately effective non-traditional creativity grounded in robust strategy’. In doing so, and by not trying to be everything for everyone, we’ve seen that new business conversations are faster and more efficient. Either clients believe in it just as much as you and can’t wait to get started, or it’s not for them and that’s cool too, because no one’s time is getting wasted.

The great news is, we’ve seen firsthand that plenty of Australia’s most iconic brands - and even some cracking big global ones (more on that shortly) - are ambitious and eager in their pursuit of non-traditional creativity. Ideas that, not so long ago, would be bolted onto the back of the deck and presented with apologetic, “wouldn’t it be cool if…” platitudes, are now not just at the front of the deck, but are the entirety of the deck.

And it’s a theme that’s only going to grow next year as more and more of the industry’s biggest voices weigh in.

Pepsi’s Global CMO Todd Kaplan doubled down on the power of earned, saying that, while traditional paid media “proved effective at achieving an efficient way to deliver brand messages to target consumers at scale, it often fails to acknowledge how engaged the consumer is on the other end, and whether or not the real message was actually received”.

David Droga took it a step further and said, “if you’re in an industry and people create technology to avoid what you do, I can either try and shout louder and be more annoying or I can show up in more relevant ways and try to add value and be helpful and surprising.”

It’s been an unforgettable 2023 for Supermassive, and taking Droga’s advice, we’re looking forward to an even more creatively relevant, helpful and surprising 2024.

Supermassive Co-Founders Laura Aldington, Jon Austin and Simone Gupta

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