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The Stoppies 2018: Human of the Year – Justin Mowday

Earlier this year, StopPress gathered the industry for an evening of self-congratulation as we celebrated the work that made 2018 so great, as well as the moments that got lips moving. Winners across the 16 categories were chosen by the editorial team who — along with the application of very sophisticated algorithms, immersive VR experience, AI chatbots — discussed and debated the results. Now, we revisit some of those winners for a behind-the-scenes look at why they are successful.

By StopPress Team | May 8, 2019 | awards

Looking at DDB’s achievements over the past year, it would be hard to ignore DDB New Zealand chief executive Justin Mowday for the title of Human of the Year. With 2018 seeing client wins including Vodafone, Seat, KiwiRail, Warehouse Stationery, New Zealand Steel and Volkswagen alongside the release of award-winning creative, he’s leading an agency with momentum.

What was your greatest highlight of 2018?

Seeing the teams at DDB growing, doing great work and getting better and better. Watching smart, passionate hard-working people succeed is incredibly satisfying.

What separates a successful agency from a struggling agency? 

About five minutes! Things can change fast in our business so we never take any client, project or period of success for granted. We believe the key to a successful agency is its people, that’s where it starts – the calibre of the talent you can attract, how you grow and nurture that talent, and then in my case getting out of the way so they can do their best work.

What's your pitch-winning secret? 

Be curious, listen, strive for a fresh creative solution, and recommend what you truly think is right for the client. You may lose a few pitches along the way, but you’ll sleep better if you truly believe in your pitch.

How do you describe your leadership style?

I’d like to think it’s inclusive, fair and fun, but you may get a more interesting answer from those around me!

What have you learned in the last year? 

I’m trying to learn to shut up. I’m a natural talker and love to leap in and bounce off others, but unfortunately that sometimes sucks the oxygen away from the other very smart people in the room, who have heaps to offer but are perhaps more polite!

What will we see from you and DDB in the next 12 months?

Our focus is to grow our clients’ businesses, to have a tangible impact on their top line, and that will remain our focus for years to come. But how we apply creativity to do that will continue to change, and that’s the exciting bit. We also have a few new ideas and innovations we’re implementing within our own business this year, which we’re really looking forward to trying and learning from.

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