The business of creativity, the art of science

Y&R Group’s Jason Buckley shares some insights from the worlds of acting and music on the business of being a communicator.


We have always believed that great ideas come from making connections between brands, and the human and cultural contexts in which those brands exist.

The advertising we produce – whether in the form of TV commercials, posters, websites or social media campaigns – is simply a means to an end, where the desired end result is a reaction in someone’s head upon seeing or hearing our communication. Everything we do is geared towards influencing that reaction.

Recently we held the second annual Y&R Group May Day event, created to share the agency’s vision and celebrate creativity through collaboration and learning from others. Genuine creativity is important to foster as part of the culture of an organisation that prides itself on the ability to drive commercial success by applying creativity.

Creativity cannot be reduced to a process or policy – it is a mindset and improving the approach to creativity by learning from others is core to our mission.

Thus, our agency celebrated May Day with an ‘Art Versus Science’ theme to highlight the different avenues to commercialising creativity and the power of introducing creativity to business. With technology and data being more relevant in our industry it’s important to embrace different people and styles for creativity to deliver work that drives commercial success for our clients.

We gathered in the Utzon Room at the Sydney Opera House. The choice of venue was not an afterthought. By choosing to gather in an iconic building of creativity that’s also incredibly successful from a business standpoint, the choice of historic room was representative of the theme of the day.

We heard from writers, actors, dancers and musicians – all who are embracing new approaches to their fields. We collaborated through dance and socially at the Vivid Festival. We discussed our business strategy and the building blocks to deliver it. Most of all, our people had a good time together and recognised how we have progressed over the last year.


The business of creativity. The art of science.

We are not in the business of art or creativity alone. It’s when we bring them together that we can really inspire and influence people. We need to produce great work that knows how to effectively engage with people in order to address business goals. We also need to understand that the highly fragmented environment we live in has changed our methods over time, but our purpose remains the same.

The ‘Art Versus Science’ theme not only covers what our business is about, it also addresses the nature of the people that work in it. This industry is renowned for drawing in highly creative, passionate individuals who thrive on being inventive and creating work that moves the industry forward.

Sharing this sentiment was Brendan Cowell, the Australian actor, screenwriter and director who we invited to speak about his journey to success in a creative field. When selecting the next projects he gets involved with, the question he asks is, ‘Does this take theatre, film or TV to the next place?’

It’s not about questioning whether something is good or bad, but instead, asking, ‘Does it push form?’

Australian electronic dance band Art vs Science added its experiences in the business of creativity from a musical perspective. The members said that what they do is a compromise between what they want to create and what people enjoy.

And this is exactly what resonates with us as communicators in a creative industry. We do what we do because we have a genuine passion for it, and this passion must always intersect with effectiveness. We have a constant desire to create simultaneously distinctive and relevant communications that represent a fusion of creativity and business.

As a communications practice we develop powerful, media-neutral ideas that engage and provoke, changing both attitudes and behaviour. Our strategies are based on real human insight and our stories inspire as much they inform.

Which messages resonate with us as both humans and as consumers? It is the messages from the most passionate of creators who educate, entertain and tell stories that make us pause, understand and remember.



Jason Buckley is chief operating officer for Y&R Group ANZ. He has been working with the advertising industry for over 20 years. Jason’s experience is across multiple markets, multiple specialist companies, and includes roles within leadership bodies and industry education programs.