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Creative Catch-Up: Leo Burnett’s Tim Green

It has been about a year since Tim Green relocated from Leo Burnett’s Sydney office to Singapore. Green was with the Sydney agency for four years working across key accounts, including Diageo, Canon, Colonial First State, GIO Insurance, McDonald’s and P&G.

But this isn’t his first stint in the Asia market. Previously, he worked as the regional executive creative director across Southeast Asia with JWT where he oversaw the growth of the agency in emerging markets.

Let’s find out how he came into the ad world.

How did you stumble into this industry?

I was one of those kids that turned up in a bad suit with a book full of scribbles to any five-minute interview I could wrangle over the phone. It took me two months and lots of pretending that I knew what people were talking about until I got a job with FCB in Sydney.

Harshest thing anyone has said to you?

“For an art director Tim, you make a pretty good writer.”

Meanest thing you’ve heard someone say to anyone on the job?

I’ve heard way too many mean things said over the years.

Fun fact: The people that say the meanest things usually end up working for the people they spit the words at.

Meanest thing you’ve personally said to anyone. Do you regret it?

I developed a sudden bout of Tourette’s Syndrome once at a photocopier – does that count? I don’t regret it for one minute.

Proudest moment in your career?

The proudest moment in my career was when my parents stopped telling me to get a real job.

A mistake in your career you won’t forget?

Never tell someone their work is good just to please them.

Weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your career?

One of the weirdest would have to be when I was persuading an African king (you knew he was the king because he had on a bright red adidas tracksuit) to allow us to shoot in his village.

The diplomacy took place in a very fine mud hut in 40-degree heat. Protocol was to stay lower than the king at all times and to outdrink each other with fermented corn beer.

I won. He passed out on his “throne” and I couldn’t stand anyway so I just crawled out of the hut.

How do you get inspired when you aren’t?

I’ve still got my very first portfolio that I look at time and again for a laugh.

Mentor you look up to most?

Graham Eadie, he played full-back for the mighty Manly Sea Eagles in the 1980s – genius.

What makes the difference between an average creative and a mind-blowing one?

Tenacity and audaciousness – in equal measure.

Most frustrating thing about being a creative?

The fact that every one is creative. It’s just that not everyone knows when the right time to be creative is.

A dream brand you would like to work on and why?

I’ve always wanted to work on the Australian Tourism Brand because I love breaking stereotypes.

How do you wind down on the weekends?

I don’t really get to wind down on the weekends. I have three beautiful kids and a dog who wind me up, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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