2 Minutes With … Andrew Fergusson, NECD of Leo Burnett Australia 

On putting all the pieces together

Andrew is the national executive creative director at Leo Burnett Australia. His career spans 20 years and three continents, including a 10-year stint at Droga5.

We spent two minutes with Andrew to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Andrew, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.  

I was born in Nottingham, U.K., and grew up in Sydney. I lived in NYC for a few years. I'm now back in the Northern Beaches of Sydney on the edge of a forest, where I have kangaroos in my backyard and all manner of deadly snakes and spiders.

How you first realized you were creative.  

I was obsessed with drawing and writing from a young age and was pretty good at it. Thankfully, I had supportive parents and teachers. 

A person you idolized creatively early on.  

I loved Nick Park from Aardman Animations. He was the brains behind Wallace and Gromit. I used to spend my weekends making stop-motion films with Blu Tack characters on our camcorder.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.  

I once had a negative school report that said: "Andrew would do much better in science if he spent more time paying attention and less time amusing his friends with his drawings at the back of the class." The following year, my new science teacher was warned about my disruptive ways. But instead of seeing it as a negative, he had me illustrate lessons on the whiteboard. Throughout the following years, he would have me illustrate handbooks and school newsletters. I find it ironic that a science teacher was the one who made me realize that I could make a career out of being creative (Shout out to Mr Strickling).

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.  

While I was based in New York, I was lucky enough to create the campaign for the final season of Game of Thrones. We decided to turn the entire campaign into a challenge to fans and brands to prove their devotion to the show. We killed Bud Light's mascot at the Super Bowl, changed an NBA team's name, hid iron thrones around the globe and launched one of the world's biggest blood drives. 

Suncorp Insurance is one of our clients at Leo Burnett, and its brand purpose is to "put Australia on the road to resilience" in the face of a changing climate. We launched with "One House to Save Many," the first home designed and tested to withstand evolving weather conditions.

We followed up with "Resilience Rd.," where we took the learnings from "One House" and applied them to one of Australia's most disaster-prone streets.

Someone else's work you admired lately. 

I really liked "The Last Performance" by Special NZ. Life Insurance isn't exactly a glamorous category, yet this idea embeds it into culture in a seamless and relevant way.  

Your main strength as a creative person.  

I am good at putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, recognizing a good idea and quickly visualizing how it could come to life across the ecosystem. 

Your biggest weakness.  

I've pondered this question for a long time. Which suggests my biggest weakness is worrying about what others will think of me.

One thing that always makes you happy.  

Big hugs from my kids when I get home. 

One thing that always makes you sad.  

Being away from my kids for too long. 

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising. 

Maybe an animator.

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