Up-and-Comers: Tom Davies, Special Group

  • Advertising
  • June 14, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Up-and-Comers: Tom Davies, Special Group

We've given the mic to the industry's future leaders. Tom Davies, a creative at Special Group, shares his thoughts on adland.

How did you get into advertising? What sparked your interest in getting into the industry?

I was drifting my way through a communications degree, with a career in radio or journalism loosely in mind. In my second year, we had an assignment which involved pairing up with a classmate (one the writer, one the art director) and sketching up some ads for a fruit drink. It was a pretty sweet assignment. Then I realised you could basically do that same assignment as a full-time job, still in a pair. Then I realised I really needed to find a mate who could draw.

It’s worked out well. I’m now working as a writer at an agency I love, with an art director I love to work with. And no one has to suffer my voice on the radio.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on so far?

I’m stoked to say it’s one of my current projects. We’re helping an awesomely ambitious young guy kickstart a conscious tampon brand from the ground up. Packaging. Brand line. Launch campaign.

As much as any creative loves to get their hands on a big brand brief (and a big brand budget), nothing beats having a beer with the owner of a business, and earning their trust with your work. It’s not often I’ve been able to say my job feels really honest.

Also, as someone who hasn’t ever had a period, the job’s obviously an enormous leap outside my comfort zone. They say that’s good.

Where do you get inspiration?

Pragmatically, Victoria Park. Just a one-minute walk from work. Watching accountants play touch rugby at lunchtime has a strange way of relaxing the mind.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your role?

I think most creatives would say this, but I’m going to say it anyway – the death of a great idea. Some of the killings are torturous, others swift and merciless, but they can all really get to you.

The only solace is that your next idea might be better. Even smarter, make it better. That’s advice I should really listen to sometime.

Are there any misconceptions about the industry you’d like to see busted?

Clients aren’t out to crush your creativity. The sooner you understand where their head is at, and why it’s there, the more sense everything makes, and the less frustrated you’ll be. Again, a real work in progress.

What advice would you give to those entering the industry?

Be passionate about your work, but don’t fall in love with it. That ends in tears. Ideas don’t have a great average life-expectancy.

Oh, and download the Headspace meditation app. I think there’s a limited time offer on.

This piece originally appeared in the 2019 Agency Issue of NZ Marketing magazine. Subscribe here.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

How is this still a thing? Reader's Digest curates 'articles of lasting interest' for nearly a century

How is this still a thing? Reader's Digest curates 'articles of lasting interest' for nearly a century

In the last 97 years, the world has suffered the Great Depression, countless wars, the rise of tyranny, innumerable natural and man-made disasters and political scandals. We’ve mourned the rise of terrorism and celebrated the invention of the internet. We’ve put humans on the moon and explored that last frontier, oppressive regimes have fallen and human rights milestones have made history. Throughout it all, one thing has remained a constant of bathroom magazine baskets and rest home libraries: Reader’s Digest. Caitlin Salter talks to Australiasian group editor Louise Waterson about how this general interest publication has stood the test of time, and what the future holds.

Next page
Results for

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2019 ICG Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.


Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit