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Meet the Judges: Brendon McLean

As Group Business Director, Brendon McLean from FCB New Zealand works with different organisations around the country to develop creative ideas and stories that resonate with audiences. 

We chat with Brendon about his journey into advertising and what he’s most excited to see at this year’s Hnry Awards.


Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, FCB, and how you know Hnry.


If I’ve been in Wellington for nearly three years, can I call myself a Wellingtonian? I’m an ex-Aucklander who stumbled from an Engineering Degree into small business ownership, and then into advertising. It’s not quite a natural progression but it’s been a fun journey where I’ve learnt heaps. You just never know what’s around the corner.


You just never know what’s around the corner: at FCB we look after a really wide range of clients, from large publicly listed companies, to non-profits, and government communications programmes. It’s a really good feeling to be able to work on the big issues and help New Zealanders. Last year a mutual friend thought that Hnry could use our help to raise their profile and a few months later we had the crazy fun “Lost Receipt” campaign – it was a very brave campaign. Lucky it worked eh!


How did you get into the industry you’re in? And what’s your take on self-employment?


One of my best mates worked at an agency, and I’d always liked the sound of what they did by mixing business and creativity. We’d just sold our little business and I was keen to get into the industry so I door-knocked every agency in town.


Eventually, and thankfully, someone said yes.


Why do you think this campaign is a good thing for NZ freelancers? What are you most excited about for the Hnry Awards?


Self-employment is fraught with difficulties, one of them being the confidence to actually take the leap and do it. Or if you unexpectedly find yourself there, the confidence and support to embrace it. We had our shot when we were very young, with great support, and had nothing to lose.


Anything that celebrates and helps build that confidence is a good thing.


That’s the exciting bit, I have no idea what to expect from the entrants.


How would you encourage freelancers to enter this challenge? And what do you think winning would mean to someone who enters?


It’s always nice to get a little bit of recognition for your talent and hard work.

And they’ll get to meet the Hnry team, maybe that’s the best bit?


Anything else you would like to add?


Hats off to Team Hnry. I love the mission and their dedication.


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