Ian Thomson is the Head of the Advertising and Digital Media Faculty at Macleay College. He has extensive international experience in the design, broadcast and advertising industries.
These include creative postings in London (Frame Store), Barcelona (OFramestore), Vienna (DMC), Hamburg (Premiere), Berlin (Metadesign) and Sydney (VPB). His portfolio of work includes branding and advertising campaigns for the ABC, the Olympics, Samsung and NSW Tourism.
Ian has created award-winning commercials, advertising campaigns, corporate films, documentaries and theatrical plays, both in Australia and overseas. His feature length documentary OUT IN THE LINEUP picked up a number of awards in Australia, the US and Europe, and his latest film project THE INVISIBLE EDGE has screened in Australia and overseas.
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 and media?
I was dux in Maths and Art at school – and advertising and media 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 or digital media?
Because it’s 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 and media professionals of the future, say in 30 years from now?
The interesting development in advertising is its move, via social and digital media - into areas of content creation. We are becoming more than just sales people, we are the entertainers for the online generation.
What makes the Macleay advertising and digital media courses different to any other? What are you doing in your course to ensure students have the best chance of success on graduation?
The advertising and media course at Macleay is the only dedicated degree 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 one.
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 or digital media?
Have a look around, and be aware of the way that strategic communications such as advertising and digital media are developing in the future.