Q&A: Becky Morriss – Creative Director, DDB Melbourne

“Being a creative, you’re always on; you never know when a great idea will come to you.”

 

Leading up to the 2024 Caples Awards, I recently caught up with Becky Morriss – Creative Director, DDB Melbourne

Becky is passionate about ideas that have an impact for good. And in her time, she’s worked with some of Australia’s biggest brands on multiple award-winning campaigns.

She is a proud member of the Aunties, a Melbourne-founded mentorship program that inspires, supports, and champions women of all ages and backgrounds across the creative industries. She is also a proud Chow Chow mum, but not so proud of the hair he leaves around the house.


 

You’re a top creative director. Do you have a side hustle? What do you do as a counterbalance to the pressures of your workplace?

Being a creative, you’re always on; you never know when a great idea will come to you. Often, I find it’s in the moments when you’re using your brain differently that you are struck with gold. So, I think it’s essential to counterbalance the pressures of the workplace with a healthy dose of fun and creativity. I like to do a couple of creative/cultural outings every month. For me, this includes painting, reading, travelling, and watching films. The rush of a good horror movie (my favourite genre) is surprisingly effective at resetting your energy.

If you hadn’t ended up in advertising, what would you be doing instead?

If I hadn’t ended up in advertising, I would be a forensic scientist. Aside from the blood and guts, it’s a bit like advertising. You still have to have a curious mind and use problem-solving, much like we do as creatives, to interrogate cases.

In your career, what one piece of personal work are you most proud of?

I take immense pride in The Creative Index, a ground-breaking tool I developed to reshape Australians’ perception of the value of creativity. In a country where creativity is often sidelined as a luxury, this tool quantifies its economic impact, demonstrating that creativity is not just a nice-to-have but a must-have.

The Creative Index aggregates Australia’s top creative companies using historical and live ASX share price data, from 2012 to now. The result: proof of the performance and power of creativity, as a total dollar figure, currently $630B AUD. This figure positions creativity ahead of traditional industries like mining and agriculture by a remarkable 56%, highlighting its indispensable role.


 

What I love about The Creative Index is that it challenges preconceptions, revealing creativity’s profound impact across business sectors. It’s not just a tool; it’s a testament to creativity as a vital resource with endless possibilities, poised to shape the future of our entire country.

What work has your agency/team produced you’re particularly proud of?

Another project I’m particularly proud of is Taycan Arcade for Porsche.

To launch the new all-electric Taycan to the world, we decided to partner with another icon. Atari. The legendary computer game developer that was celebrating the 50th anniversary of their revolutionary PONG.

“If I hadn’t ended up in advertising, I would be a forensic scientist. Aside from the blood and guts, it’s a bit like advertising. You still have to have a curious mind and use problem-solving, much like we do as creatives, to interrogate cases.”

Together with Airbag we created a world-first activation that brought two classics into a new era with a straight-line demonstration like no other. Taycan Arcade.

Set in a testing ground and featuring two geofenced, fully-electric Porsche Taycans that can do 0-100 in 2.4 seconds, plus 2 performance drivers and one A.I. controlled race drone – we created a real-world game of 3D, high-speed PONG.

The activation was filmed, then launched at Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix Porsche Pavilion. Visually, the campaign doesn’t just draw inspiration, it boldly channels the neon-soaked vibes of the ’80s, infusing the straight-line demo with a vibrant retro aesthetic.

Taycan Arcade was Porsche Australia’s most talked about launch ever, appearing in 112+ publications with an earned media reach of $8M+.

Are awards important?

It’s a question I find myself grappling with frequently. On one hand, the self-serving nature of advertising awards and the barrier to entry, often tied to costs, creates an uneven playing field. However, on the flip side, there’s something undeniably valuable in the celebration of individuals, agencies, and creativity.

The industry demands hard work, and recognition through awards serves as a gratifying acknowledgment of those efforts. Awards also act as a standard, pushing us to exceed our creative boundaries and raise the bar for the work we produce.

What recent work have you seen from another agency that you would really like to see entered into The Caples?

Recent work I like is the newest iteration of the ‘Get almost, almost anything’ Uber Eats campaign from Special Group. Featuring Tom Felton and Nicola Coughlan, the ads are funny, over-the-top and play perfectly into the two actors’ best-known roles. The idea is simple, the humour brilliant and the executions are great.

What does it mean to you to be a juror of The Caples Awards in 2024?

This is my first juror gig, so it is an absolute honour to be on the jury for this year’s Caples Awards. Thank you for inviting me. What I love about The Caples is that it’s less expensive than other shows giving everyone a slightly more even playing field; smaller agencies have as good a chance to compete as the big networks. It’s run by creatives for creatives. I can’t wait to see all the entries.

If you could have five creative luminaries sitting around your kitchen table, having a drink and a chat, who would they be? What do you think you’d talk about?

I’m going to mix it up with a couple from advertising and then a few from other creative disciplines. I’d love to speak to Phyllis Robinson, the first female Copy Chief at DDB. I’d also love to speak with Lisa Clunie & Jaime Robinson from Joan, whose philosophy is that a diversity of talent is what brings unique, interesting ideas.

Outside of advertising, I’d say Guy Bourdin, the French artist and fashion photographer. I love his highly stylized and provocative images which were featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and campaigns for Chanel. And as a lover of horror, I’d like to speak to Jordan Peele. I think we’d talk about photography and direction, women in advertising and the twist in the film ‘Us’.

Impossible question. But what is your one all-time favourite piece of advertising, the idea you most wish you’d done yourself?

What’s my favourite piece of advertising of all-time? Geez that’s a tricky one, how can I name just one. I guess an ‘absolut’ classic campaign that started my love of art direction was Absolut Vodka (Yes lame art director pun there I know). As the longest uninterrupted ad campaign ever, comprising over 1,500 ads, it’s the campaign that made me want to work in advertising. Simple, beautiful, and effective – the campaign was clearly linked to the arts. Maybe my childhood love of ‘Where’s Wally?’ played into it but I loved all the various ways the bottle was brought to life; a little puzzle in every execution.


This interview was published in partnership with The Caples Awards. To learn more about the Caples Awards including entering this year, go here.

 

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