Q&A with Ian Thomson, Macleay Advertising Program Leader

After our advertising program leader Ian Thomson had an opinion piece featured in AdNews last week, we decided to sit down with Ian to get a little bit more background from him, and to get his take on the future of advertising and why students should consider advertising as a career path.

Where were you born?

In Gunnedah, a small country town in the wheat belt of country NSW (often confused by international friends as 'Canada').

Where have you worked outside of Australia?

I left Australia for the first time when I was 19 and worked in London, Barcelona, Vienna, Hamburg and Berlin.

What made you decide to go into advertising?

I was dux in Maths and Art at school – and Advertising was the perfect mix of problem solving and creativity.

Who is your inspiration in the advertising field?

I had the opportunity of working closely with the British Designer Neville Brody (founder of THE FACE magazine) early in my career. His work and his approach inspired me.

What has been your favourite advertising campaign and why?

I have always been impressed by the work of Alejandro Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel) and when I saw he directed one of my favourite TVCs - the “Thank You Mama” campaign for P&G - my admiration for him was confirmed.

What has been your favourite personally run advertising campaign and why?

I am a fan of the Old Spice campaign “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” featuring Isaiah Mustafa. A wonderful case of Advertising not taking itself too seriously.

Why should people choose a career path in advertising?

Because it is never boring. Even after you have learnt the ropes, each new project presents a new challenge. And I love working in a creative environment.

What trends or differences can you see for advertising professionals of the future, say in 30 years from now?

The interesting development in advertising is its move, via social media - into areas of content. We are becoming more than just sales people, we are the entertainers for the online generation.

What made you decide to switch from practicing advertising to teaching advertising?

I started teaching students at the Miami Ad School in Hamburg some years ago then did some tutoring at UTS. Now I am at Macleay College, I love encouraging creative young people to develop their own creative ideas and talent. Giving back to the industry is very rewarding.

What makes the Macleay advertising course different to any other? What are you doing in your course to ensure students have the best chance of success on graduation?

The advertising course at Macleay is the only one in Australia that combines creative, management and marketing subjects - to give students a truly holistic view of the industry. With a focus on real-world based projects as well as our internship placement program, we give graduates genuine hands-on experience as part of the course which in turn gives them the best chance at success in the advertising business from day 1.

Do you need to have certain personality traits to be good at advertising?

You need to have a spark, love creativity and be very self motivated – and enjoy having fun.

Any words of advice for anyone looking to study advertising?

Have a look around, and be aware of the way advertising is developing in the future.

That brings us to the end of our interview with Ian. For more information on our advertising course including student testimonials and case studies visit our website here.

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