In Conversation with Craig Ford

Who is Craig Ford?

I’ve built my career in some of Australia’s largest and most creative advertising agencies. USP/DDB, George Patts, back to DDB and then to Clemenger BBDO. I was a member of the Board and Creative Director at Clemenger Harvie/CHE and Clemenger Tasmania. Then to The Faith Agency, an independent marketing and advertising agency as Executive Creative Director and Partner. I’ve worked with some great and inspiring people and created highly successful, award winning work at AWARD, MADC, One Show, Caxton, New York Festivals/Grand Award and London International.

Clients have been large, small and diverse. Mazda, Australian Dairy Corporation, Tourism Tasmania, City of Melbourne, The Age, RACV, Yellow/White Pages, Melbourne City Mission, HSBC, Ford, Kenworth and CAT Trucks, Nissan, BP, CPA Australia and Bakers Delight. I have been actively involved with industry mentor schemes and served as a MADC Committee Member, an AWARD Committee Member and ran the MADC Mentor Scheme and AWARD School for 3 years.

What is your current position and job title?

Currently I’m enjoying the freedom of my own consultancy business — CREATR Brand. I create Brand, Strategy and Creative solutions for small to medium businesses on a “Plug-in” basis. From workshops, digital, video concepts and production to creative for all of the above. Working closely with owners and decision makers cuts out so much crap. I’m also consulting to agencies on brand, strategic and creative work while the rest of my time is freelance.

Who (or what) inspires you?

Not in any particular order. People succeeding against the odds. People having a go. My family. Great thinking. Great photography. Great writing. Great art. Great ideas for humanity. Bruce Doull. Dr. Richard Harris (Diver Harry).

How did you get your first break?

More like breaks. Saying “yes” to every job given to me at USP/DDB. Then stealing briefs to work on. Then two mentors, Steve Thomas and Sherri McIver gave me a break. Then being head hunted to Clemenger Hobart as a young CD. You learn a lot about being creative when you only have small budgets. Then back to Clemenger BBDO Melbourne.

Tell us what you are currently working on?

Currently I’m finishing the second phase of in-language Biosecurity videos for the Australian Government – Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. A series of 15 videos in 8 different languages. I never realised how difficult it is just to say “sorry” in 8 languages.

Top tips for an aspiring Creative Director?

  • Observe people and their behaviours.
  • Do different things. Things that you think you might not even enjoy. You’ll find different insights and that will lead to different thinking.
  • Question everything.
  • Observe people and their behaviours. (Try not to get caught.)
  • Whether it’s TV, digital, print, social radio or outdoor, try to treat it as just another channel. You’re still communicating with people, they’re just consuming it in a different format.

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