A few of the more exciting places where I have launched, expanded, and led agency offices:
And the agencies I've been fortunate to work with:
Creating campaigns, conducting lectures or sponsored by:
With agency roles including:
Executive Creative Director, Managing Director and Strategy Director - in offices from 45 - 220 people.
Expedition Leader, Motivational speaker and trainer, Author
Expedition Leader on the Seven Continents, leading groups from Everest to Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica.
Motivational lecturer and training leader with focus on team building, leadership, strategy, creative, and the ability to create and execute on great work in any industry.
Author of three books, Seven Summits Solo (Clarkson Potter/Random House), To Everest via Antarctica (Penguin) and Antonovs over the Arctic, flying to the North Pole in a Russian biplane (David Bateman).
FAQ’s – 10 questions for Robert Anderson
or read the latest from the blog at Explore7summits.
How did you begin your career in advertising?
‘I was riding my bicycle around the world, was broke, and discovered Ogilvy needed a new writer in their Auckland, New Zealand office – I started two weeks later.’
What was the first campaign you remember working on?
'We had large multi-national clients, so while in big offices you’d struggle to ever work on brand TV, that is where I started. I worked on a host of CPG brands for Unilever, then moved into direct marketing. My first award was for an American Express Travel direct mailer. We had the Centurion logo flying over a tennis net – probably not quite meeting the graphic standards but that was always one of the great things about New Zealand, often breaking the rules and doing new exciting new things.’
So what next, sounds like it was a pretty good place to be?
‘I was young and restless – migrated over to the Ogilvy office in Melbourne (who also very kindly gave me two months off for an Everest Expedition), then came back and worked in Sydney. Ogilvy wanted to open a new Direct office in Wellington so they invited me back to New Zealand to head that up.’
Then you lived happily ever after?
‘Hardly – I’d formed some great friendships and myself and a fellow Managing Director Daryl Hughes set up our own shop, Anderson, Hughes and Partners. We won more business than we ever dreamed of and a lot of great awards, with clients from Bayer to BMW, Westpac Bank to Compaq Computer. We sold this in four years and I took off to climb mountains.’
What’s an ad guy doing climbing mountains?
‘Growing up in Colorado I’d gotten started early, then moved on to Yosemite to climb the classic big walls of El Cap and Half Dome. I’d done new routes in Europe and South America, before I was invited to Everest. The first trip we didn’t quite make it, so I put together a group and went back with a small 4-man team and were successful on a new route, climbing without oxygen or Sherpa support on Everest’s biggest and probably most dangerous face.’
Now I must ask, does it get any worse?
‘I’d found the advertising experience invaluable in working with sponsors on Everest, so I put together a core group: British Airways, GSK, Kiehl’s since 1851, NBC and Rolex. I set out to do all the rest of the Seven Summits, the tallest peak on every continent, solo. I did lectures, wrote three books, shot and edited hours of video and worked with sponsors on training, PR and promotions for five years. I've often worked as a photographer and shot video for both publications, and T.V. programs, some of which is featured here.’
Sounds like anything else would be boring?
‘Not at all – the Seven Summits were exhilarating. And I’ve never lost my love of writing, of doing campaigns, of communicating to people – it's always both challenging and rewarding to work out the best story and tell it in a compelling way. And I've been fortunate to be in the right places at the right time to always be at the forefront of technology.
From working in Seoul on IBM just as the web really opened up, to New York where we could really push digital with really talented people, and more recently handling all Social Media for GM in Detroit. I tend to adopt before the early adopters know what to adopt. More recently, I established a digital creative hub in Kuala Lumpur working on creative work across China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia.’
So back to a desk job?
‘Fortunately, the desks have always been in very interesting places with very interesting and successful companies - looking over the streets of Seoul, Korea, while at Ogilvy, up at the Chrysler building when I returned to New York with FCB and then working in Detroit at Big Fuel as GM’s first agency of record for Social Media. And as you can imagine, I'm not much of a desk person, I'm out working with teams, presenting to and working direct with clients, visiting other offices.'
With all you have done, what are you really good at, where do the roots run deep?
‘I love working with the people in our industry – communicators, storytellers, brand builders - on both the agency, client and mountaineering side. The mix of collaboration, challenge and change is always unique and exciting, particularly right now. So first its people. Second, the new opportunities for defining user experience using technology, to connect, to converse with consumers are amazing. It has opened up whole new ways to communicate that are very exciting.’
'I have a blog at Explore7summits.com which is getting a lot more traction than I expected. It covers not only my own climbs, but what is happening on Everest and all the rest of the 7 summits. With a mix of climbing, personalities, culture - and a few restaurant reviews to come, I'm enjoying sharing what is actively happening right now.'