Matt Eastwood






The 2018 New York Festivals Executive Jury, is an elite dream team of Global Chief Creative Officers and C-Suite creative executives. Words like iconic, visionary, accomplished and influential, come to mind when describing these prominent award-winning creative leaders.  They will assemble this April in New York City for 4 days of live judging across all mediums—one panel of advertising giants, 30+ strong, all coming together to select the World’s Best Advertising®.

Matt Eastwood is described by Britain’s Campaign magazine as a “unicorn” in the communications industry. Throughout his career, Matt has overseen some of the most innovative and recognizable creative projects in advertising today. His career has spanned numerous agencies, specialties, and countries, including Australia, the UK and US. As a founding partner of M&C Saatchi in Australia, Matt went on to join DDB Australia as National Creative Director and Vice Chairman. In 2010 he moved to DDB New York as Chief Creative Officer. AdAge’s 2013 Awards Report listed Matt as the 5th most-awarded Chief Creative Officer worldwide.

In 2016, Matt led J. Walter Thompson to a historic year at Cannes, winning a total of 80 Lions – more than the agency had ever won in their 150-year history. Most excitingly, J. Walter Thompson moved from 14th to 7th most-awarded network at Cannes, making the agency one of the “biggest movers” at Cannes in 2016. He is a highly awarded creative with an international sensibility, living life as a New Yorker.

Being a Juror:

New York Festivals: Why did you decide to accept the invite to NYF’s Executive Jury?

Matt Eastwood: The Executive Jury for the New York Festival’s is one of the most accomplished group of creative leaders I have even seen assembled on a jury. It was an honor to be included. Most importantly, however, I think that this is the exact group we need to discuss the work and determine the future of our industry. It’s going to be an intense, but amazing four days.

Working in Advertising:

New York Festivals: Tell us an experience (or two) that shaped the course of your career.

Matt Eastwood: One of the most impactful moments in my career happened at the age of 22 in my home town of Perth. The agency I was working for had been named Agency of the Year two years in a row. I’d also won Commercial of the Year for a spot that I wrote whilst working at that agency. Then, out of the blue, the agency declared bankruptcy and, along with everyone else, I was let go. I was devastated. But, out of the disillusionment came an amazing opportunity. One of the judges who had awarded me Commercial of the Year was from Sydney. And, seeing me unemployed, he asked me to join his highly-awarded agency. That one move changed the entire trajectory of my career.

Perhaps the other moment that really helped shape my career was when I was 29 and working at Saatchi & Saatchi in Sydney. Maurice and Charles Saatchi had just started their new agency, and I was lucky enough to be invited to be the founding Creative Director of their office in Melbourne. M&C Saatchi Melbourne went on to win Agency of the Year four years in a row. And, eventually, Maurice Saatchi asked me to move to London as Creative Director of their head office in Golden Square. It was intimidating working with so many of my advertising heroes – people like Simon Dicketts, Tiger Savage and James Lowther – but we had great success.

Favorite Ads:

New York Festivals: Share an ad you are particularly proud of.

Matt Eastwood: I’m incredibly proud of the work that we did for the New York City Ballet on the anniversary of September 11th. As a bunch of New Yorkers (OK, I’m an Aussie-New Yorker) we were exploring the idea of how art can help people heal. And we wondered if there was a way to “take back” September 11th and recast it as a day of hope, rather than one of sorrow. We took the idea to the NYCB and the legendary Christopher Wheeldon choreographed the ballet “New Beginnings”. On September 12th, the ballet was performed live on the rooftop of World Trade Center Building Four, with the newly built Freedom Tower standing proudly in the background. The ballet still moves me every time I watch it. And it reminds me of the power of art to change people’s lives.

NYCB “New Beginnings”:

New York Festivals: Share your favorite ad that illustrates how advertising can change the world and tell us why you love it.

Matt Eastwood: I will always love the “Hashtag Killer” campaign we did for WATERisLIFE. I’m so proud of the impact that it made on the lives of so many people. After the campaign, donations to WATERisLIFE increased by over 500%. We raised enough money for over a million liters of water. And the idea came from such humble beginnings. When the team was trying to crack the brief to raise awareness for WATERisLIFE, one of its members had a first-world problem of their own. The air conditioner in his apartment broke, which led to a dispute with the landlord over who should pay the $200 to get it fixed. We couldn’t help but compare this problem to those faced by the people of Haiti, where the average annual salary is around $100, and the idea started growing from there. (In case you’re wondering, the landlord ended up paying for it.)


Creative Leadership: 

New York Festivals: What do you look for when hiring new talent?

Matt Eastwood:I have a very simple philosophy – Passion Trumps Talent. Obviously, you need to have talent, but I’m far more interested in how passionate you are rather than how many awards you’ve won.

New York Festivals: What’s the toughest part of your job? Favorite part?

Matt Eastwood: The travel is tough. I have a big job, but it’s a great one. I’m as much the Chief Inspiration Officer as I am the Chief Creative officer. With so many offices, we have over two hundred offices in 90 countries; I can’t possibly visit them all. But what I can do is try to inspire each and every one of them to be better than they ever imagined they could be. And, of course, I’m still very involved in our global clients, leading creative teams from around the world to deliver pioneering solutions. My Skype mood message is simply, “Jetlagged”, which pretty much describes my daily life.

This and That:

New York Festivals: If we asked for three adjectives to describe you, what would people who know you say?

Matt Eastwood: I hope they would say passionate, curious and caring.

New York Festivals: How do you find balance (or do you?) between your high-powered job and life/family/outside of-work fun? Any ‘secrets’ you can share?

Matt Eastwood: My husband makes a perfect Hendrick’s Dirty Martini (with three olives). And, even if I’m exhausted after weeks of projects, problems, pitches and travel, once I’m sipping a martini at our lake house in Upstate New York, I’m very quickly reminded of how great my life is.

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