Year in Review 2023: Brad Collett

Each year, StopPress asks a group of talented professionals in the local industry for their reflections on the year that was. This year we speak to individuals who made their mark on 2023 and brought us truly impactful work.

Brad Collett is moving from Stanley Street to the newly created role of Chief Creative Officer at independent creative agency, Federation, starting in the new year. We asked him what he thought of 2023, and what he expects from 2024.

  1. If 2023 were a brand, what would its slogan be?

Bradding Value.

  • How would you sum up your professional year in three words? 

Hold my beer.

  • What piece of work are you most proud to have been involved with in 2023?

Creatives often quip, ‘hey, we’re not saving lives here’ but with The Hello Project that’s exactly what we set out to do. This initiative got New Zealanders thinking about vulnerable people living alone and the often narrow window between life and death, and empowered them to prevent tragic outcomes by simply stepping in to say ‘Hello’.

Public engagement was extraordinary and the stories we heard back were gratifying. This project was built from the ground up in collaboration with Hato Hone (St John), and I’m proud to see that creativity can be employed to make a real difference in the real world.  

  • What shifts do you foresee in the New Zealand creative landscape for 2024 based on recent trends?

Trends now seem to be coming and going faster than a Briscoes sale, and everyone scrambles to jump onto them. What we’re really doing though is rushing to market with work that’s on-trend but same-same, without enough consideration for what brands need to achieve. Hopefully more brands will stop trying so hard to keep up with each other, and instead start being themselves. 

Personally I believe there will be a big shift towards genuine authenticity in 2024, with brands focusing more on what they stand for to their customers, the people who work there, and their products and services. In 2024, we’ll see more brands achieve distinctiveness and differentiation by playing to their own strengths instead of mirroring each other. 

Brands embracing technology will be the other shift we see – personalisation of experiences, unexpected creativity, and the application of AI. All of these will be the focus next year. I did a lot of talks this year about how AI will influence future creative work, and I can see this continuing. The lessons are to not give into the hype and find productive uses of it to make us all better at what we do. Read my article on it here: https://stoppress.co.nz/stoppress-series/brad-v-bard-testing-ais-creativity/

  • What were the biggest lessons brands learned in 2023?

In a soft market, brands still have to spend money to be seen and to make an impact (of course I’m going to say that). But the biggest lesson is that a good idea is still a good idea, no matter the budget. This was the year brands learned that to be noticed and appreciated they have to be more than just advertisers; they must be innovators, storytellers, responsible citizens and, most important of all, they must be authentic. 

  • The technology that has had the most impact on my day-to-day work life is…

Don’t say it… don’t say it… AI. Sorry, said it. The ubiquitous acronym is still generating lots of creative excitement, and it’s really just taking off. As we head into 2024 we’ll continue to weave AI into the fabric of our creative lives and processes. It’s time to feed it some of those bottom drawer ideas and see what happens… 

  • Who inspired you this year and why?

Dr Peter Attia book ‘Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity’ has helped focus me to live a better balanced life, without having to cut down on those Speights Summit Low Carbs. 

  • What are you most looking forward to working on in 2024?

New Year. New Job. Hitting the ground running at my new agency Federation is going to be super exciting. I think 2024 is going to be the year of crazy, big, creative thinking. If ‘23 was safe, ‘24 is going to be unhinged. Watch this space.

  • In 2024 I want to perfect the art of…

Writing effective AI prompts to generate Stoppress Year In Review articles.

Quick fire 10:

  1. Most impactful local campaign of 2023:

This was the year where we needed some good news and the ‘Up The Wahs’ chant didn’t disappoint. I loved the way nearly every brand in New Zealand got behind the saying and attempted to one up each other. Well done One NZ, changing your name on the top of our devices was a winning move. 2nd place, Rebel’s No.1 Fan tramp stamp.

  • Most underrated international campaign of the year:

Orange “The Compil des Bleues”. Don’t get me wrong it was massive, and will win big. But still I felt it got lost in the noise of World Cup commercials, which is a shame because it really celebrated women in sport and deserved more coverage here, there, and everywhere…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVNZRHIZVL8

  • A campaign I wish I worked on:

Fiji Tourism. Not because the ads are great, I just needed a beautiful beach holiday.

  • A news event that didn’t get the attention it deserved:

The post announcing my new role at Federation. Jokes, I got heaps of love, thanks everyone for the support.

  • A 2023 trend I’m ready to bid farewell to is:

David and Victoria Beckhams’ dance to ‘Islands in the Stream’

  • Most listened to artist of 2023:

Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers – Islands in the Stream. 

  • Most innovative use of social media in a campaign this year:

Solo Stove – Snoop Dogg Goes Smokeless giving up the smoke. A classic idea, introduced to a modern platform: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdsAR9l_fI4

  • Most bingeable TV series of 2023: 

Robbie Williams, there was something really relatable about him walking around in his undies. Also, the way he got trolled and trashed in the media. Left feeling anxious, isolated, or frustrated reminded me of what creatives often go through. Here’s to ‘24 being positive vibes.

  • Biggest flop of 2023: 

New Zealand World Cups. They. Hurt.

  1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given:

Never turn down an interview.

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