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So You Want My Job? Huge ECD Wayne Deakin on how he surfed into advertising

The Drum 23 Feb 2021 02:30
So You Want My Job? Wayne Deakin Huge ECD surfs into ads, influenced by Steve Irwin

Welcome to So You Want My Job? where each week we ask the people working in some of the industry’s coolest jobs about how they got where they are. And, along the way, we dig into their philosophies, inspirations, processes and experiences. Hopefully, our interviewees can help inspire you to pursue (or create) a job that’s just as exciting.

This week we speak to Wayne Deakin, executive creative director for EMEA at Huge. But first, a reminder that you can subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter, Working it Out, which gathers up the best new marketing vacancies and helps you get interview-sharp.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I grew up in a small fishing village in Queensland – the same place as Steve Irwin, actually. He was a friend, but it was a small community. Everyone knew each other.

Arguably, surfing and advertising don’t have a lot in common – if you make a bad decision during a big pitch, for example, you’re almost definitely not going to die like you do when you surf big crazy waves. But surfing taught me resilience and fearlessness, and those are useful skills I guess.

I didn’t do well at school. I didn’t know at the time, but I’m on the Asperger’s spectrum. I only gave a shit about the things I was interested in and the traditional education model wasn’t for me – I work better when I can walk around rather than sit at a desk, for example.

That led me to discover the Award School, an apprenticeship scheme for aspiring creatives. It is open to anyone (even those not at art school) and transforms raw creativity into industry-ready thinking – similar to the D&AD’s schemes in the UK. I applied for it without even knowing what jobs really existed in advertising and won a place.

From there I went on to roles at a bunch of big famous Oz names before moving about Asia, the United States and then Europe. Even having worked for some of the most well-known agencies and having won lots of awards, I still have imposter syndrome, to be honest. It’s irrational, but sometimes I worry I’ll get ‘found out’, that people will realize I didn’t end up here in a ‘proper’ way.

Loads that I can’t share here! But I guess it would’ve been great if I’d known about our industry earlier in life, so I didn’t have to discover it in such a roundabout way. Or, you know, if I’d had a rich dad and saved myself some hassle.

I try to avoid it. If I have to tell people, I say I make websites or do graphics because they understand what that is and change the conversation. But what does an ECD actually do?

Do your parents understand what you do?

Sadly, my dad died a while back. He was one of those people who was a tough cookie but also inspiring. When I’d had a tough time, he’d show me a picture of a friend of his who lost his all limbs in the Vietnam War. “That’s a tough time,” he said.

What do you love most about your job?

What advice would you offer to others entering the advertising industry, especially at this weird time?

What would you say is the one trait that best suits you to your role?

So, I would say a willingness to listen, being open and being confident – I know that’s three traits, not one.

Who should those who want your job be reading or listening to?

I also love science and behavioral psychology, so I read a lot about that. I even did a masters in cognitive science somehow along the way so I could learn more about how my brain works, and how my kids’ brains work.

Last week, we talked to Colm Murphy, chief strategy officer of The&Partnership and m/Six in New York.

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Wayne DeakinAward SchoolBill BristowSteve IrwinEMEA
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