In Conversation with Nick Cummins

After 10 years in some of Melbourne’s best traditional agencies Nick jumped ship in 1999 and started Sputnik Agency, one of Australia’s first digital agencies. He worked with a fantastic team growing the agency into a 60 person strong award winning creative shop. A little over 10 years at Sputnik Agency, Nick felt it was time to try something new so he sold his share and moved to DDB Melbourne as a group creative director focusing on integrating digital into the broader agency. His next role started off as an enthusiastic conversation at the pub. And before too long The Royals was launched.

What inspired you to become a Creative Director?

I actually became a creative director by accident after I was sacked from Young and Rubicam. I decided to start my own agency (Sputnik Agency ), so I got to give myself whatever damn title I wanted. I think becoming a creative director is really just a natural progression in your career. Junior art director, art director, senior art director, and then creative director and of course we now have ecd and creative chairman etc and senior creative chairman. What inspired me to get in to advertising in the first place is a love of ingenuity and creativity and I wasn’t smart enough to be an architect.

How did you get your first break?

I had an interview at an agency called Mattingly and Partners, straight after I left Uni. The senior art director looked at my folio and flicked through the pages going Nup,Nup,Nup,Nup,Yes,Nup Yes.Then he went and got the creative director who went Yep,Yep,Yep,Yep, Nup,Yep.Nup. Then offered me a job. I suppose it’s a lesson that it comes down to personal taste a lot of the time.

What paths have you taken to get to where you are today?

I’d like to think the path less traveled. I left mainstream advertising in 1999 to start a digital agency. Most of my colleagues thought I was mad leaving the world of big sexy TV ads to make stuff for the web. Now most of them wished they’d done the same.

What advice about the do's and don'ts would you give to someone looking to becoming a CD?

Being a creative director is a great Job. It can be stressful though. You never know if your team are going to crack the brief and there is never enough time or money these days. The Do’s would have to be, try and make a clear path for an idea to get up. Make sure the brief is clear and insightful. Fight like hell to get good work through. The Don’ts would have to be, give up.

Tell us about the projects you're currently working on and what sets The Royals apart from the rest of the industry?

Ah!… this is the bit where I get to hustle. We are the most interested agency in the world. We are interested in what people are doing in the world. We are interested in our clients’ challenges. We are interested in breaking new ground creatively. And we are having fun in both our Sydney and Melbourne offices every day.

Check out The Royals website.

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