AWARD Hall of Fame honours Neil French

neil-french.jpgAsia's advertising guru Neil French became even more of a legend when he was inducted into the AWARD Hall of Fame in Sydney last night.

There were eleven inductees into the AWARD Hall Of Fame, which was sponsored by Adstream. In addition to Neil French Jack Vaughan, Lionel Hunt, John Bevins, David Denneen, Bob Isherwood, Allan Johnston, Ron Mather, Alan Morris, Kim Thorp, and Gordon Trembath were all honoured.

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Guests were treated to a historical showcase of the inductees' advertising genius - compiled by freelance creative director Mike Boswell - throughout the night. They were presented with black AWARD pencils and interviewed on stage by the hilarious MC Fysh Rutherford, creative partner at Twenty20, who flew up from Melbourne.
Neil French, Bob Isherwood and Gordon Trembath were unable to make the trip, with Gordon sending the audience a special acceptance speech. Alan Morris' sons Asher and Ronnie collected the pencil on behalf of their late Father.

Picture 378.png_d307476.jpgSays AWARD Chairman Richard Maddocks (pictured here, with Fysh Rutherford): "As an industry we're obsessed with the next thing. The AWARD Hall of Fame evening was about doing something long overdue and paying tribute to some of the amazing creative careers that defined a generation of advertising and as a result paved the way for those of us in the industry today."

Peter Miller, Managing Director of adstream handed out the awards to each inductee on the night. He said; "AWARD never stops recognising brilliant thinking which we applaud. We reckon adstream frees people to do just that, so we are jazzed to get alongside the Hall of Fame initiative."

The Hall Of Fame selection committee comprised: Matt Eastwood - DDB Sydney, David Nobay - Droga5, Tom McFarlane - M&C Saatchi, Jonathan Kneebone -The Glue Society, Warren Brown - BMF, Rob Belgiovane - BWM, Mike O'Sullivan - Saatchi & Saatchi Auckland, Richard Maddocks - Clemenger BBDO Sydney, Darryn Devlin - Kastner & Partners, Michael Lynch - Campaign Brief and Michael Ritchie - Revolver.

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See all the photographs of the event

The roll of honour (in alphabetical order):

Bevins+1986.jpgJOHN BEVINS

As chairman and creative director of leading Australian independent agency, John Bevins, which he founded in 1982, Bevins is renowned for, among other things, the long-copy ads he wrote for BT Funds Management and his championing of copywriting. Born in Liverpool, England in 1946 he arrived in Australia in the same year and his first job in advertising was in 1963 as a dispatch boy at Hansen-Rubenson McCann-Erickson. He worked his way to print production, accounts, then copy, working as a junior writer under Bryce Courtenay.

He spent the next decade at Ogilvy & Mather joining as a writer in 1967 in its first year in Australia. In 1972, aged 26, he was made creative director, a job that came with a stint at Ogilvy & Mather New York. Bevins left in 1979 to set up creative consultancy Bevins, Slapp with the late Brian Slapp. One of their first campaigns was the 'Sponge' TVC for Quit for Life, a visual metaphor for tobacco being wrung out of a human lung. Other earlier work includes 'TDK does amazing things to my system' and 'Take me away please, P&O'.

In 1993 John was voted Advertising Person of the Year and Creative Person of the Year in the Campaign Brief readers' poll. In 2002 he was awarded the inaugural Advertising Federation of Australia's medallion for services to the industry and in 2007 the Denis Everingham Award for copywriting at the Caxtons.

"John is an amazing talent and very shy, unlike some in the business who have elevated their profiles by promoting themselves to lofty positions in inverse proportion to their talent," said Ray Black, when Bevins was inducted into The Work's 2008 Hall of Fame. Black became a partner with Bevins in the mid 1980s where they had a great time on working with clients refereed to as OKOP - Our Kind of People. "There is a wonderful freedom in being able to choose the clients we respected and wanted to work with and the work we produced to fit comfortably with a social conscience," said Black.


David Denneen, widely acknowledged as one of Australia's top commercials directors, has also built Filmgraphics, one of Australia's leading production houses. "I love film making. To me, I don't see my job as work, it's my hobby ... and I get paid for it. How good is that!" said Denneen.  

Among the work he has directed is McDonald's 'James Dean', Discover Card's 'Friendly Reminder', MLA's 'Gone Fishing', Optus 'Whalesong' and Gatorade's 'Heroes'. He's worked with some of the world's most famous talent including Michael Jordan, Ken Griffey Jr., Shane Warne, Michael J Fox, Brooke Shields, Naomi Watts, Patrick rafter, Richard Gere, Jackie Chan, Sir Bob Geldolf and Dustin Hoffman.

In 2001 Denneen was among the inaugural recipients of the Australian Screen Directors Association (ASDA) accreditation alongside George Miller, Peter Weir, Gillian Armstrong, Bruce Beresford, Ray Lawrence, Phil Noyce and Fred Schepisi. The accreditation for cinematographers, acknowledges the creation of a body of work of a consistently high standard. His peers voted him as Director of the Decade for the 80s and again for the 90s.

Over the years he's won every major award in Australia and internationally at festivals, including D&AD, Mobius, Cannes, Kodak Gongs, and the New York Advertising Festival. In 1977 Denneen was animator, co-director and co-designer on the Academy Award-winning short Leisure (1977) and in 2006 he directed his first feature film, Restraint, a psychological thriller.

neil-french.jpgNEIL FRENCH

Legendary advertising executive Neil French is considered one of the pioneers of advertising in Asia. The British native moved to Singapore in 1983 as creative director of Ogilvy & Mather. He then worked at Batey Advertising and the Ball Partnership before re-joining Ogilvy & Mather as regional creative director. He was promoted to worldwide creative director of WPP Group, a position he resigned in 2005 after the furore caused by the controversial comments made during a conference in Toronto. The comments related to female creative directors with French saying that "you can't be a great creative director and have a baby and keep spending time off every time your kids are ill ... Everyone who doesn't commit themselves fully to the job is crap at it".  

His work for Chivas Regal, Kaminomoto, and 'XO Beer' for The Straits Times are among his most famous campaigns. "Not surprisingly, it took him tens of thousands of hours to lift the creative standards of firstly Singapore, and then the rest of Asia. Asian creativity was truly hand-made by French," said Jim Aitchison when French was inducted into The Work's 2002 Hall of Fame.

He also taught a generation of Asian creative directors, copywriters and art directors never to accept bland briefs and inept strategies, continued Aitchison.

Aitchison said: "Neil taught Asia's smartest young account handlers never to write them. He engrained in both groups that great work was never comfortable work, and vice versa. The 'Neil French-type' ad became industry jargon. And not just in print and not just in Singapore.  He championed the cause of Thai creativity, he cracked his creative whip in Hong Kong, and he scooped up all the regional awards with customary ease. His ads were the first Asian ads to appear in the international annuals. Everyone's work was the better for his presence. Everyone tried harder, either to please him, or beat him."

French is the founder of advertising show, The World Press Awards, limited to advertising that appears solely in the print media and he briefly served as manager of the British Heavy Metal band, Judas Priest in the 70s. At the 2009 New York Festivals Advertising Awards, French was presented with the NYF Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Hunt-Lionel-NEW.jpgLIONEL HUNT

Lionel Hunt's written some of the best Australian ads of all time and some of the most awarded, including gold and silver at Cannes, The One Show and AWARD. He's been three times voted Creative Director of the Year, was elected Advertising Man of the Year in 1984 and has been inducted into the FACTS, AWARD (re - presented tonight), Caxton and Campaign Brief Halls of Fame.

"You don't make Halls of Fame for just writing," said Jack Vaughan, when Hunt was inducted into The Work's 2003 Hall of Fame. "What he ought to be recognised for is much larger: For uncompromising conviction of the power of great ads. For creating (and, even harder, sustaining) an environment in which everybody worked toward that. For lifting everyone's game. For changing the rules. For not being intimidated. For being, in other words, a consummate Advertising Man."  

Hunt emigrated to Australia from his native England in 1961, first working as a jackaroo and then on a sewer-pipe laying gang before joining a Tasmanian advertising agency as a copywriter. Eleven years later in 1972, after jobs as account executive, advertising manager, copywriter and creative director, he joined Gordon Trembath at The Campaign Palace, which had started six months earlier in Trembath's lounge room. The Campaign Palace became Australia's hottest agency. Hunt was chairman and national creative director until he left in 1998 to form Lowe Hunt and Partners and he resigned as chairman of the Lowe Lintas Group in Australasia in December 2008, aged 65.

Hunt was behind iconic Australian lines including: "One day you're gonna get caught with your pants down"; "Berlei Sports Bra. Sometimes the only thing you want to bounce is the ball"; and "Get wrecked on Great Keppel Island". As he wrote in D&AD's The Copy Book, Hunt's philosophy is: "Always work with a great art director. Always take him out to lunch. Be brave. Take up table tennis. Don't sell your own work. Surround yourself with brilliant account directors. Concentrate on your headlines before your body copy. Don't bury the proposition. And have a laugh."

Bob Isherwood 2007 Clio Accepting Award BW.jpgBOB ISHERWOOD

In a distinguished career in the global advertising industry, Bob Isherwood can claim many firsts: he's won Australia's first gold Lion for film and cinema at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, was the first Australian to win a D&AD Gold Pencil and the D&AD's first ever Silver pencil for Typography, he's been elected to the Clio Hall of Fame in the US and named Australia's leading creative director.

Isherwood spent six years as creative group head of Young & Rubicam London and ten years with Collett Dickenson Pearce & Partners, then generally regarded as the most creative advertising agency in the world. In 1982 he returned to his native Australia as founding partner of The Campaign Palace Sydney. In 1986 he joined Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney and was appointed creative director in 1988, chairman of the Worldwide Creative Board in 1995 and worldwide creative director and member of the executive board in 1996.

He resigned in November 2008 after 22 years with the company breaking up his long-standing partnership with worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts, a New Zealander Isherwood first worked with when Roberts was his client. Among the work he is proudest of is his work with The Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas and every year at Cannes he gave a memorable introduction to the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase.

Based in Miami, he retained close ties with the Australian advertising industry. When Isherwood was inducted into The Works' Hall of Fame in 2005, David Nobay recalled their first meeting in New York. "He had plans for me at Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney and was busy briefing me with all the cautious enthusiasm of a Master Architect instructing a young apprentice on blueprints to renovate his most treasured creation; which, in reality is exactly what the Sydney office is to Bob," said Nobay. "At the time it struck me how intimately knowledgeable he was about an office on the other side of the planet, especially given it was one of over 120 under his watch."

MatherRon.jpgRON MATHER

Lionel Hunt remembers Ron Mather walking into The Campaign Palace Melbourne - sporting an Afro hairdo and carrying the best TV portfolio Hunt had ever seen and was offered a job on the spot. Mather had been working with a writer called Andrew Rutherford at Saatchi & Saatchi London and The British native had recently arrived in Melbourne following his bride-to-be, Leoni, first landing a job with Masius.

Working with Hunt and Jack Vaughan, it was the first of Mather's long stints at The Palace. "The laughs we had, the lunches we had, the ads we did. No one could put a print ad down on a page like Ron. Always big and bold and ballsy and always so downright legible they almost read themselves out loud to you," said Hunt when Mather was inducted into The Work's Hall of Fame in 2007.
He left the Palace to become creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Melbourne before relocating to Saatchi's Sydney office.  One of his most memorable campaigns during this time was Volvo's 'Survive the Crash', which ran the day after the 1987 stock market crash. After Saatchi's Mather directed commercials via his own company Mather Godsell before rejoining The Campaign Palace as creative director of Sydney. Famous ads from this stint are the Fuji 'Baby' spot and the Westpac 'Olympics' TV campaign with the parents of Olympians ineptly trying to emulate their offspring. Mather then returned to Melbourne, first as executive creative director of Grey Worldwide and then as chairman of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne.

Mather left Clems in October 2006 and soon after launched The Cavalry with Tony Greenwood. Last year Mather split from Greenwood to form It's the Thought that Counts, and was recently joined by Christine Barnes who he worked with at Grey and The Campaign Palace. "Ron has had one of the longest, most distinguished creative careers in Australian advertising," said Hunt. "He has won almost every major international award, has twice been voted creative director of the Year by BRW Magazine, has judged at Cannes and D&AD and was the first Australian to be chairman of judges at the Clio Awards. The best art director/creative director ever to grace our shores from the Motherland? I can think of a couple of heavyweight contenders for that title, but, as you may have guessed, Ron gets my vote."


Their careers are so entwined that it is impossible to separate Mo from Jo, who together were responsible for many of Australia's best-loved and most effective ad campaigns. Mo, who lost a year long battle with cancer in 1997, was known to scrap and remake an entire campaign hours before the meeting and returning from lunch would order all the type reset on a campaign he'd signed off only hours before. The son of Carl Morris, a founder of USP Needham, he was travelling around the States when he got a job as a copywriter in a Canadian agency. Returning to Australia he joined Rogers Holland and Everingham before starting his own shop as creative director of Mullins Clarke and Ralph. He gave it up to spend his mornings freelancing and his afternoons lunching in Paddington.

At the other end of the bar was Allan Johnston. He'd started out as a young copywriter before getting a job as an assistant producer in an Adelaide agency, where he moved into the copy department writing jingles. He was a creative group head when he got to work on a project for an agency called Marketing and Advertising with Morris. Together with Mo's brother Don Morris, they launched Mojo. Together they wrote seven of the best TV commercials of all times, as judged by industry leaders in a recent poll. Their ads became a hit among the Australian public, particularly World Series Cricket's "C'Mon Aussie C'Mon", Meadow Lea's "You oughta be congratulated", Australian Tourism Commission's spot with Paul Hogan's instruction to "Put another shrimp on the Barbie" and Tooheys 'How do you feel?" and "I can feel a XXXX coming on'.

"It's the stuff of Australian dreams," said Doug Watson when Mo and Jo made Campaign Brief's Hall of Fame in 2006.  "A likable, local larrikin brand of advertising that's more powerful than anything before or since. It never pretended to be international, although it did work overseas. It wasn't made for award juries, just the average punter. It's a magical blend of empathy, mateship, cynical humour and celebration."

They hired people like Phil Gough, John Turnbull, Scott Whybin, Rodd Martin, George Betsis, Rob Belgiovane, Ted Horton and Chris Dewey.

Watson said: "To their supporters, the songs weren't merely jingles at all. They were songs with ideas, with brand names artfully woven in. A format so brilliantly simple, but nobody seemed to have caught on. Basically it was 40-seconds of consumer understanding with a current lyric that seamlessly became the brand promise. The emotion would build from frame one and, by the time the product arrived, it was a celebration. If you ever caught yourself singing their melodies you could never exclude the brand."

Then there's the Coke incident when they were presenting a worldwide concept to Coca-Cola in Atlanta. As Watson recalls it, the two shuffled to the stage and Jo started tuning a guitar but were interrupted by McCann's global creative director asking who their target audience was. "Stretching to his full five foot four, Mo said in a laconic mutter, fair to the microphone for all to hear: 'Any cunt with a mouth'. The president of Coke thought this was the most precise targeting he'd heard all day," said Watson.  

After a merger with Monaghan Dayman Adams, Mojo/MDA acquired offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore and affiliates throughout Asia. In 1988 Advertising Age named it as International Agency of the Year.

kim-thorp3.jpgKIM THORP

Kim Thorp was creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellington for 12 years and chairman of Saatchi New Zealand for two years as well as representing Australasia on the agency's worldwide creative board.

The creative hot shop attracted global fame for campaigns such as Toyota Hilux's 'Bugger', Land Transport Safety Authority and New Zealand Telecom. In 1997, Advertising Age ranked it as one of the top 10 agencies in the world.
In 2003 Thorp joined with three other Saatchi Wellington executives - Peter Cullinane, formerly COO Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, James Hall, formerly chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi UK and Howard Greive, formerly head of television, Saatchi and Saatchi NZ to start the consultancy Assignment.
In 2005 it teamed up with JWT to win Tourism New Zealand's '100% Pure New Zealand' account. Assignment was given creative control and JWT strategic and media services. Assignment does not enter awards, has no permanent staff and the directors do not talk about their projects or their clients to the media. Thorp also owns a vineyard and winery and was awarded the Industry Excellence Award at the 2009 CAANZ AXIS awards.


Gordon Trembath started The Campaign Palace, one of Australia's most legendary agencies, in the lounge room of his South Melbourne home with no money, but a stack of awards and the conviction that Australia needed a creative consultancy. He'd been joint creative director of Masius Melbourne, one of the hottest agencies of the 1960s and 1970s.

His fledgling agency soon won acclaim creating campaigns for clients including Qantas, Holeproof, Sportsgirl, Great Keppel and Cheap Jeans. In CB's Black Book, Trembath says his favourite campaigns are 'One day you're going to get caught with your pants down' for Holeproof Underdaks and 'Get Wrecked on Great Keppel Island' as well as the Wrangler campaign, 'If I can't wear my own Wrangler shirt I'm not going'.  The latter shows a photo of a man wearing a denim shirt tucked over his bright orange Hare Krishna robes as the ensemble cavorts along the Burke Street tramlines at sunrise.

Famous for retiring at 40, he lives in Noosa and occasionally works on advertising projects. Reg Bryson, former CEO of The Campaign Palace, said: "Gordon has guts, he does stick to his principals. He's one of the greatest advertising practitioners but Australia never got to see much of him because he retired so early."


Jack Vaughan has been declared Australia's best advertising writer as well as top creative director with his work awarded at Cannes, Clio, The One Show, AWARD, Caxton and Folio. He was the first to be elected to the AWARD Hall of Fame (re presented tonight) and the ATV Hall of Fame in the late 80s and The Campaign Brief Hall of Fame in 2002.

He has served as national creative director and executive creative director of agencies including The Campaign Palace, both Sydney and Melbourne, Young & Rubicam here and in London and George Patterson Bates. He then co-founded Principals Independent Brand Counsel, offering strategic and creative services, before becoming a creative outsource, Jack Vaughan Creative Services.

"Jack Vaughan is, in my opinion, the best copywriter in Australian advertising history," said Lionel Hunt when Vaughan was inducted into Campaign Brief's 2002 Hall of Fame. Vaughan first came to prominence in Australia in the 70s at Y&R Adelaide when he penned 'Hey Charger' for Chrysler and 'Where do you hide your Coolabah' for wine casks. Both of these expressions entered the vernacular. In the 80s, while at The Palace in Melbourne Vaughan wrote the 'Isaac Newton' spot for Holeproof Computer Socks ("They fall up, not down"), one of the agency's best ever.
"Like all Palace trainees he's not averse to a glass of chardonnay. He loves a good time and he loves a good laugh, in fact he's got one of the most infectious lunchtime laughs in the business," said Hunt.

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