Young Guns: With Collective associate creative director, Nicole Hetherington

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 21 September 2016
Nicole Hetherington

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. Last week we spoke to M&C Saatchi account director, Celeste Toffanello.

This week we head to Sydney to speak to With Collective associate creative director, Nicole Hetherington.

How long have you been in the industry?

Eight years.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

I’ve been at With Collective for just over seven months now.

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig? I’ve been an art director since I was 19. I first heard about the job of an associate director at a funeral, of all places. I then completed a post grad in creative advertising after a short stint in marketing back in the motherland - NZ.

Define your job in one word:


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

That there were a lot of late nights, a lot of hardwork, a lot of alcohol involved and a lot of fun.

How does the reality match up?

To be honest, pretty accurately.

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

With is definitely the most unique and ahead of the game company I’ve personally ever worked for. We create integrated campaigns that have data at the heart. There’s no guess work here. I personally spend about 50% of my time reviewing and working with the creative teams and 50% of my time working on briefs.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

Every day is completely different. I love the unknown and the experiences I get to create. I get to mould things and in turn hopefully make people laugh or feel something. Every day I learn something new.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

The main thing for me would be taking time to step up and become a senior. There’s so much to learn and many ways to grow. I learnt to not get ahead of my game.

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

Planning. I’m one of those creatives that loves to draw user journeys and go deep in to insights. I love ideas that have structure and come from human truths.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?

I think the switch in to more immersive ideas. Rather than just creating entertaining content for people to watch its now all about interacting.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

Robots? Is it real? They could apparently be creatives one day…

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

My copywriter. Without a doubt. Si and I have worked together from the beginning. I’d be lost without him.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

It’s a mix between Steve Coll (ECD With Collective ) and Rob Galluzzo (founder of Finch)– they both have guided me for the majority of my career. Not too sure about the dethroning though.

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

I’m Gen Y so that’s a tricky one. But I’d love to be continuing to grow the With empire.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

As a creative, I am constantly searching for inspiration all around me. I never stop looking and learning. You blink and things change. So naturally I gain inspiration from all things – life, TV, travel, conversations …everything.

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

I have a serious case of road rage.

What’s your personal motto?

Stay jazzy.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because:

I heard there was a job out there that you could think of ideas, draw them, create and then present them. Who doesn’t want to do all of that?

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

A lawyer. I love a strong, deep argument, backed up with facts and data.

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