Two minutes with: Scott Coldham

Colenso BBDO recently took our the esteemed prize at the 2020 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity; Agency of the Decade. Here, we talk to managing director Scott Coldham on what the award meant to the agency, and the creative strength that comes from working in Aotearoa.

Coldham has been with the agency for the better part of 15 years, seeing the Colenso BBDO through many ebbs and flows. Now, even with the accreditation of being the top agency of the pacific, he still maintains a humble Kiwi outlook of the award.

“We weren’t even aware this award was something that they were doing. There is loads of great agencies and loads of great work that has come out of the region over the last 10 years. We’ve always strived to be the best in New Zealand and even the best in the world, but in doing so we’ve tried to maintain the quality of the work and the integrity of what we do.”

Coldham says although the group has been responsible for amazing work across a range of categories, he is proud to see the Colenso story solidified.

“The thing that stands out for me over the last decade that’s awesome has been our sustained story, no matter what was going on in the world and no matter what seemed to be resonating, we’ve clearly done well and been at the top of our game in that regard. So this award is just a sheer wow factor for us and an ode that we are doing it right year after year across many different clients.”

New Zealand is known to Kiwis as a creative hub, yet we get a lot of press around not having big budgets to turn average ideas into great work, which Coldham says has made us really creative to battle against that.

“We don’t have the social or political climates that some markets do that can lead to the creation of great work, so we’ve always been a little powerhouse of great ideas on our own. If you look at the work that comes out of this region, it’s consistently up there with the rest of the world.”

Coldham says although the award was a signifier to the current agency they’re doing it right, it was also a good ode to past clients and staff.

“We do have a culture that is focused on the creative product, so it’s nice to know the people and clients that have been and gone, as well as the people and clients that are still here can take a step back and look at this award and think ‘wow’. We have been doing this work for 50 years, but the last decade all that work and the focus on making something great has resulted in an accolade that doesn’t happen very often.”

Treating it as a time to reflect on success, Coldham says he is also looking forward to what the next decade will bring for the agency.

“The industry changes, clients change and people change. The constant of creativity is the most important differentiator a brand can have, our role is ensuring that stays top of mine. It’s nice recognition that the work works, but in saying that it’s just good inspiration to think about what the next ten years looks like and how we stay on top.

There will be many challenges and things we have to go through, but great work will always be our focus.”

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