Year in Review 2023: Raymond Otene McKay

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.

Raymond Otene McKay (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngaati Maahuta), is Co-Founder and CCO at Run Aotearoa. With 20-plus years in the industry, he’s been acknowledged by numerous awards locally and internationally. We asked him what he thought of 2023, and what he hopes to see in 2024.

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

Get me outta here. Happy Gilmore quote (25-year anniversary of the movie).

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

Travel. Challenges. Growth.

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

The ‘Manaakitanga Pencil’ as a gesture to highlight racism in our industry and start a conversation.

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

The AI bandwagon is petering out, so we’ll see more creative uses of AI and not the sensationalised version of it.

What were the biggest lessons brands learned in 2023?

That diversity pays, but still keen to see more respect for the diverse audiences they’re using as a resource.

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

ADHD medication.

Who inspired you this year and why?

Lee Timutimu and his team at Te Hapori Matihiko. I admire his tenacity in successfully putting together the first Māori Tech Awards, securing a million dollars in funding, and continuing to push for representation in STEM and tech for our Māori SMEs and communities.

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

A project with an advertising and design awards ceremony to help change the status quo globally.

In 2024 I want to perfect the art of…

Focusing on one thing and not ten!

Quick fire 10:

  1. Most impactful local campaign of 2023:

Motion Sickness ‘Rep Your Suburb’ campaign.

  1. Most underrated international campaign of the year:

Are You Press Worthy? by TBWA/Chiat/Day New York.


  1. A campaign I wish I worked on:

Waka Kotahi – ‘Road Toll’ by FCB Aotearoa, very powerful piece of work.

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

The Māori climate start-up, Hinemoana Halo Ocean Fund, that secured US$50 million investment at Cop28.

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

Prime energy drink and getting nagged by my sons to purchase it for $20. Now it’s on sale at Countdown for $5 they don’t want it!

  1. Most listened to artist of 2023:

Dr Dre.

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

Lil Dicky ‘Quarter Time’

  1. Most bingeable TV series of 2023: 


  1. Biggest flop of 2023:  


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

Don’t listen to other people’s advice.

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