I’ve had three long-term art directors and they’ve all left the country (I’m trying not to take it personally).
Two of them are now CDs at Droga 5 in Sydney (excuse me if I got the exact job title wrong, D and C; I think one of you is also head of art), while the other is the CD or ECD of Saatchis Vietnam, so it seems to have worked out quite well for them.
Other friends of mine, such as Dylan Harrison and Simon Veksner, have also made a great success of moving Down Under, and they’re far from the only ones. I recently joined LinkedIn only to discover that many ex-colleagues are now working very successfully all over the world.
And that seems pretty impressive.
Back in the day, when the UK was the envy of the world ad game, the idea of moving abroad was stigmatised as some kind of admission of failure. Why, after all, would you move from the best? If you did so that would have to be a move downwards. But now we’re all aware that great work can come from almost any country on the planet (except Micronesia; their Cannes record is a fucking shit show), and it’s no coincidence that so many Brits have ended up surfing (geddit??!) the wave of Antipodean excellence.
Obviously this isn’t all a result of the rise of other nations; it’s also a consequence of a drop in the quality of UK work. But what came first, the brain drain or the off-putting British shiteness (and weather)? Has there been an overall drop in global quality? If so, this is not a UK exodus so much as people reaching a certain point in their careers and making the most of a new opportunity. Like I said, it seems to have gone well for many of them, so it seems like they made the right decision.
So, as someone who has yet to leave this scepter’d isle, I’d like to know: have you left your home country? Has it worked out? Why did you do it? Would you ever go back?
Answers on a postcard…