All in the family: Gawen Rudder reveals the family dynasties within the Australian ad industry

Gawen-rudder-families.jpgBy Gawen Rudder, principal of The Knowledge Consultancy, Sydney

The year was 1987. Or thereabouts. I was part of the selection team for the AFA Graduate Program and received a call from Terry Connaghan - the Federation's chairman and head of Leo Burnett Connaghan & May - asking me to lunch. The conversation eventually turned to the purpose of this rather unexpected invitation, "You're probably aware my son Michael has applied for the Program and I wonder whether you could keep an eye open for his application ... " And so began another advertising dynasty.

Jack Singleton, first born of his dad's first marriage, not only co-founded Jack Watts Currie, but extended his talents with numerous business ventures. Rob Currie is the son of Bill, co-founder of Berry Currie who gave the then-20-year-old Singo his first break in the business. Rob now works alongside Mike Connaghan at WPP AUNZ. As Singleton-the-elder quipped, reflecting on his alarming number of ex-wives, "Advertising and marriage make strange bedfellows."
Brothers-in-arms abound. Like the Lord Saatchi (Maurice) and the other one (Charles); or John and Peter Clemenger, whose dad Jack (a Davis Cup tennis player) founded the agency back  in 1946. Similarly, Don and Alan Morris's father Carl banked his WWII army savings with other ex-servicemen to form United Services Publicity (USP - now DDB); Hedley Cousins, father-founder of Catts-Patterson and half-brothers - Keith and Geoff - became the patricians who presided over Patts for so many years.

Twins Peter and Hugh Fitzhardinge are at Innocean and Ward 6 respectively; Chris Goodrich was a 15-year JWT America veteran and brother of friend and colleague of Aprais boss Richard, whilst their father was at JWT in London and Sydney. The Fentons: Alex at Fenton Stephens and Paul at Yolo.

Similarly, there are probably more husband and wife agency heads, but Luke Brown and Angela Smith of Sydney science-based Affinity come to mind.  Then there's Venus founder Bec Brideson and Miles Mainwaring; and Steve Gray of Batey Kazoo and The Palace with Kaye Schirrman, ex-Leonardi & Curtis, Bevins, Saatchi's. Jill Dupleix met fellow copywriter Terry Durack (MDA and The Campaign Palace) to become the consummate culinary couple.

Hugh Mackay's father was in advertising, a copywriter at Paton Advertising. Hugh hovered on the perimeter, left school at 16, joined McNair (now AC Nielsen) and founded Consensus Research while at Patts. Hugh suggests that just as when there's a doctor in the house, so too is it with advertising. It creates a certain familiarity, even inevitability.

I ran into Jack Nunn, son of Graeme Nunn of Foster Nunn Loveder, at Special Group recently and started thinking about the raft of second-generation admen and women ...

According to proud dad Tom, Droga5 New York's Mietta McFarlane, "has been hanging around agencies since she was a kid, so she knows it's hard graft and you've got to deal with rejection almost every day."   

Michael Faudet inherited his father's genes with both doing time at DDB across the decades. Ditto creative Cam Blackley, now at M&C Saatchi, has the talent of his dad David, an acclaimed Clems Melbourne veteran.

Sons & daughters abound: Lionel Hunt's name towers over all others.  His son Ben is CD at Creative Y&R, Kenya and daughter Abby, is a freelance TVC producer in Sydney. Former Saatchi worldwide CD Bob Isherwood's daughter Sophie, was a writer in New York at Droga5, then CD at Y&R, now senior writer at Aesop. The excitement of life at The Palace would have been the table talk at Des Speakman's home in Melbourne. Son Alex is a seasoned Saatchi & Saatchi partner/planner and Edwina a TVC producer at Filmgraphics.  Austin Begg, co-founder of Melbourne-based seventies hot shop Begg Dow Priday, now works with his son Andrew and daughter Samantha at Traffic.

The son of fabled and feared Dennis 'Bear' Everingham of 60s hot shop Rodgers Holland Everingham (aka 'RH Negative.') Jamie, now happily rattles the pots and pans as a chef in the Southern Highlands. He told me, "As far as dynasties are concerned, my father was a dynasty unto himself and whilst I happily followed suit as a copywriter, the enormity of his imposing frame was only matched by his extraordinary ability."

Rob Martin-Murphy, ECD at Ikon, is son of hyphenated Christopher, ex-The Palace, Y&R, Mojo et al. Rob came from solid stock, his grandfather was ad manager for the Daily Mirror in London and Radio Luxemburg.

Art director Charlie Gearside is the son of storyboard guru 'Gunna,' Paul who was artist-in-residence at Fortune, O&M and Mojo for those Tooheys TVCs.

Doughty Yorkshireman, veteran of Mattingly and JWT, genial Geoff Ingall is father to Dan, ex-Big Red, various JWT posts and now CEO of Cummins in Sydney.

Jaid Hulsbosch learned about branding when his father Hans took over his bedroom to set up a studio 35 years ago. He's inherited the task of fostering the next generation for the family company.

As one wit put it, "Harold's shoes were a bit too big for Stuart." He resigned from his role as deputy chairman a mere three years after his larger than life father sold the Mitchell business for a cool $363 million.

Ten years after his Graduate Trainee position at Ward 6, Tim Wilson-Brown is planning director at KBS New York. His father Colin was MD of Magnus Nankervis & Curl for 16 years, then CEO of FCB, and is principal of The Clinic. Michael Magnus was the cultured gentleman-founder of MN&C. At the time of his death in 2007 his nephew Noel followed in his footsteps, having joined JWT as CEO from FCB which had previously acquired MN&C.

Connaghan & May spawned a number of great creatives, including copywriter and craftsman John Bevins, whose son Dan went on to work at Spark44 in Europe. Bryce Courtenay's son Damon, a haemophiliac, tragically died from an AIDS-tainted blood transfusion on April Fool's Day, inspiring Bryce's novel of the same name. That reminded us too that Alan 'Mo' Morris left us on the same day, eleven years ago.


Groucho said:

One agency head , not named here, declared to me one day that he was a second generation advertising man inferring that Made him somehow superior. I replied my father was a proctologist . That ended that line of conversation.

ES said:

A couple missing ......
Tom Dery and son Paul, ECD at Uber USA
Tony White and son Ant, CCO of CHE Proximity

Gawen said:

Thank you ES ... much appreciated

Great article, Gawen said:

A much simpler write-up than naming all the parents who still have absolutely NO idea of what we all do.

Geoff Ingall said:

The Clemengers are unquestionably the great dynasty of adland and into their third generation. Peter is still an active participant, at a remarkable 93. His son, David was an excellent copywriter before dropping out for the better life and I'm sure that the late John's daughter is somewhere out there.

Leave a comment