Creative Directors / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Andrew Hankin, Creative Director at Ogilvy Australia

Andrew Hankin is a copywriter-based Creative Director who has spent 20 years working at Ogilvy Australia, with brands such as Coca-Cola, KFC, Pizza Hut, and more.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’ve only ever worked for Ogilvy. So, I guess I’m still at my first job. Although after twenty years that feels a little strange to say.

At the time, the best way to start in advertising was going through the mailroom. Which I did. And I’m glad I started that way. It gives you a thorough understanding of every department in the business.

Along the way I’ve had many different titles and clients that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Now I’m a creative director and spend my days as a creative problem-solver for some of the best brands in the country.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

The boring answer is back-to-back meetings. But even though we do spend a lot of time in meetings, the great thing about being in a creative business is that each day can look very different to the last.

One day we might be writing a new television commercial for a product on a supermarket shelf, coming up with new ways to get people to eat more chicken burgers or even trying to raise awareness for an important cause like skin cancer.

And each day you might be thinking of these ideas, producing these ideas or presenting these ideas. Usually all three.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Even before COVID the job of a copywriter and creative director has always been pretty flexible with where and how you work. In fact, most people like to embrace that.

So, whether that simply means getting out of the office to work in a café or pub – or even in the park at Observatory Hill near our office – we’re given the freedom to work remotely, as long as we check in from time to time.

Post COVID, the chance to WFH has been great. I start my day much earlier (usually around 7am), write my to-do list for the day, use the morning for some thinking-time, before I get stuck into the day. After work, I always try and go for a run, although these days it’s more of a canter.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Firstly, I’m bad at it. I work too much. I enjoy it. But as you get older you do realise it’s important to take a step back when you can and strive for a bit of balance.

When I was younger, I read a book that said you should try and split your time like this;

  • 20% for work
  • 20% for friends
  • 20% for family
  • 20% for your partner
  • 20% for yourself

I go back and forwards with whether this is actually good advice, but right now I think it is. If you know you’ve spent too much time at work, you’ll know it’s time to see your friends or take time out for yourself.

And although I’m sure everyone reading this spends way more than 20% of their time at work (probably lots more) I do think having something simple like this as a reminder holds us accountable for how and where we choose to spend our time.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I never thought I would write this but I’m really into earthing. Which is just a fancy word for taking your shoes off and walking barefoot outside (usually in grass). This essentially transfers the earth’s electrons from the ground into your body – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Right now, I’m reading Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. It’s an easy book to pick up and read for 10 minutes at a time.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

It’s not a product, a gadget or an app. But it is something I can’t live without: my cat – Charlie.

And even though I started writing this answer as a joke, I do think the connection we have with animals is very important – especially in 2020. In fact, they’re a nice reminder to switch off from the gadgets sometimes and just enjoy life.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Lebron James (sorry, had to sneak a basketball reference in somewhere).

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

You never achieve balance. You only strive to. You never cross everything off your to-do list, there are just more to-do lists. Once you realise this, you have a new perspective on what balance actually means and how to approach each day.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.