As I See It: Tony Bradbourne

What is New Zealand’s identity?
Identity is an interesting thing – how you see yourself is different from how someone else sees you. Growing up in New Zealand it was all I knew – the world was something that existed on TV and in the movies. Then spending decade in London and Amsterdam in some incredible agencies with some incredible clients gave me different perspective of New Zealand. Everyone was interested in New Zealand, everyone loved the idea of New Zealand. The experience also gave me new perspective. I now no longer saw the size and location of New Zealand as barrier, only the scale of your ambition.

What will be our next major challenges?
The biggest challenge is belief.
We have to believe we can compete at any level and in fact be better. We started Special with that belief. We believed we could offer brands in New Zealand smarter thinking, better ideas and better results. So three years later we’ve been awarded the National Business Review Advertising Agency of the Year, taken back to New Zealand the world’s top advertising prize, Grand Prix at the Cannes International Advertising Awards for Orcon+Iggy Pop Together Incredible (beating 1800 other entries from across the globe) and are now working on international projects. But you have to believe you can do it from the bottom of the South Pacific.

What do we need to prepare ourselves for this?
As country and as individual businesses we have to be smarter and quicker. We need to innovate, take risks, invest in R&D; be brave. You have to want to do something incredible. We recently relaunched C4 as FOUR with little help from massive 40-foot yellow duck that floated around in Auckland Harbour. It became the most photographed object in New Zealand that week. Viewership was up 228 percent on launch night compared with the week prior, and revenue is up 50 percent on the same time last year. It wasn’t the safe approach for Mediaworks; it was innovative, brave and smart. And it really worked. It’s that sort of belief that I think New Zealand companies need to prosper. And it’s that belief that New Zealand needs. M

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