A seasoned Executive Creative Director with global experience and a demonstrated history of award and pitch winning advertising ideas, Anthony Moss is a freelance ECD with a strong and varied skillset.
Last year, he was named as one of the top 100 creative leaders in the world by Creativepool and today, Anthony returns the favour by sitting down with us and laying bare his creative process, his path through the industry and his hopes for the future.
How did you get into the industry?
While studying marketing at university I did an advertising subject. I fell in love with the lecturer’s passion for the business and wanted to know more. In my last year of uni I also completed portfolio school in Australia (AWARD School) and paired with an art director. I’m a copywriter.
Soon after, I got a job in the mailroom of Saatchi & Saatchi in Sydney and my art director and I would constantly write ads and present them to the ECD. After a couple of years of persistently bugging him with ideas, he hired us.
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
I’m based in Melbourne Australia and I’m working for myself as a freelance creative consultant/ECD. I have 4 main clients that I work with regularly.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t in advertising I think I’d be a publican or run a wine bar. People fascinate me and I’d need a job where every day was different.
Can you explain your creative process? What makes it unique?
My creative process always starts with an insight and a clear understanding of the brief. What it’s telling me and what it isn’t telling me. Then I start with broad brushstrokes to find an idea steeped in tension. And then I start to whittle that broad idea down into an execution.
So, I always follow the steps of Insight>Idea>Execution. If you think of the execution first, it’s probably not an idea but instead just a technique.
How would you describe your style?
My style is very collaborative and welcoming of other people’s builds, suggestions and improvements. I let the idea be the boss. But I’m also very pragmatic and realistic with my work. Clients get frustrated with agencies and creatives presenting ideas that aren’t possible to make for timing, budget or resource reasons.
So, I’ve become very good at pushing the limits of what creative can be, while remaining within the realms of achievability for the ask. Ideas that never get made are a frustrating waste of everyone’s time and patience.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
I gain the most inspiration from young creatives or aspiring creatives trying to get their start. Those who aren’t limited in their enthusiasm and are full of the hustle and fight that it takes to get into this business. I get a lot of joy working and developing young creatives to harness their talent and drive into the tools they need to succeed in an agency.
What tips would you give to aspiring creatives looking for work?
Most aspiring creatives looking for work give up at the first knock back or when the going gets tough. That’s all part of the process and a reality of the job when they land one. Being an advertising creative is one of the most unfruitful jobs on the planet from a strike rate perspective.
To crack one brief we need to come up with dozens of ideas, then we present a few and hope that one gets made. Then, when it does get made, it very rarely ends up the way we planned by the time it’s gone through the client and production.
So, when starting out, don’t give up and listen to feedback from as many people you admire, as you can. While the feedback may at times be contradictory to the previous person’s, you’ll start to form your own radar of what’s good and what works.
What tips would you give to other professionals to get more clients?
Good work gets good clients. So, make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward. But also clients want to work with people they like and like working with. Social skills and a high EQ are paramount to getting more clients who stay loyal to you when other agencies try to undercut.
What kind of tools/kit/software could you not do without?
A black marker and a clean pad of paper. I know it sounds old school, but if you’re relying on tools/kit or software to be a better creative, you’re relying on the execution more than the idea. And that’s a recipe for disaster because all those things are available to everyone else. There’s no sustainable competitive advantage in having those things.
The idea comes first, then the polish is applied to the idea later. And I’d prefer to have a basic looking killer idea than an epic looking execution that doesn’t have an idea in it.
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
Working on a great brief is like mining for gold. It’s exhilarating to dig and dig until you find a little nugget that answers the brief and brings you joy. So that constant chase is what motivates me. And I stay inspired by keeping it that simple.
Going back to basics and coming up with an idea that the client and customers love and want to spend time with, is an amazing feeling.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
Last year I was named in the Creativepool top 100 global creative leaders. I am immensely proud of that. (And I’m not just saying that because this is a Creativepool piece). And on par with that was seeing a junior team of mine (that I hired right out of portfolio school) win multiple awards around the world, including the D&AD and MADC Rising Star awards for best new talent, all within their first 12 months of employment.
What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?
Not a lot really. I love this business and I feel extremely lucky to be working in it.
Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
As a creative, it’s our responsibility the be students of popular culture. So, websites, books and films should be viewed as research that can be applied to future briefs. Therefore, anything you’re reading, watching or attending is the right thing to invest in.