All within the household: Gawen Rudder reveals the household dynasties throughout the Australian advert trade

By Gawen Rudder, principal of The Knowledge Consultancy, Sydney
The year was 1987. Or thereabouts. I was part of the selection team for the AFA Graduate Program and received a call from Terry Connaghan – the Federation’s chairman and head of Leo Burnett Connaghan & May – asking me to lunch. The conversation eventually turned to the purpose of this rather unexpected invitation, “You’re probably aware my son Michael has applied for the Program and I wonder whether you could keep an eye open for his application … ” And so began another advertising dynasty.
Jack Singleton, first born of his dad’s first marriage, not only co-founded Jack Watts Currie, but extended his talents with numerous business ventures. Rob Currie is the son of Bill, co-founder of Berry Currie who gave the then-20-year-old Singo his first break in the business. Rob now works alongside Mike Connaghan at WPP AUNZ. As Singleton-the-elder quipped, reflecting on his alarming number of ex-wives, “Advertising and marriage make strange bedfellows.”
Brothers-in-arms abound. Like the Lord Saatchi (Maurice) and the
other one (Charles); or John and Peter Clemenger, whose dad Jack (a
Davis Cup tennis player) founded the agency back  in 1946. Similarly,
Don and Alan Morris’s father Carl banked his WWII army savings with
other ex-servicemen to form United Services Publicity (USP – now DDB);
Hedley Cousins, father-founder of Catts-Patterson and half-brothers –
Keith and Geoff – became the patricians who presided over Patts for so
many years.
Twins Peter and Hugh Fitzhardinge are at Innocean and
Ward 6 respectively; Chris Goodrich was a 15-year JWT America veteran
and brother of friend and colleague of Aprais boss Richard, whilst their
father was at JWT in London and Sydney. The Fentons: Alex at Fenton
Stephens and Paul at Yolo.
Similarly, there are probably more
husband and wife agency heads, but Luke Brown and Angela Smith of Sydney
science-based Affinity come to mind.  Then there’s Venus founder Bec
Brideson and Miles Mainwaring; and Steve Gray of Batey Kazoo and The
Palace with Kaye Schirrman, ex-Leonardi & Curtis, Bevins, Saatchi’s.
Jill Dupleix met fellow copywriter Terry Durack (MDA and The Campaign
Palace) to become the consummate culinary couple.
Hugh Mackay’s
father was in advertising, a copywriter at Paton Advertising. Hugh
hovered on the perimeter, left school at 16, joined McNair (now AC
Nielsen) and founded Consensus Research while at Patts. Hugh suggests
that just as when there’s a doctor in the house, so too is it with
advertising. It creates a certain familiarity, even inevitability.
ran into Jack Nunn, son of Graeme Nunn of Foster Nunn Loveder, at
Special Group recently and started thinking about the raft of
second-generation admen and women …
According to proud dad Tom,
Droga5 New York’s Mietta McFarlane, “has been hanging around agencies
since she was a kid, so she knows it’s hard graft and you’ve got to deal
with rejection almost every day.”   
Michael Faudet inherited his
father’s genes with both doing time at DDB across the decades. Ditto
creative Cam Blackley, now at M&C Saatchi, has the talent of his dad
David, an acclaimed Clems Melbourne veteran.
Sons & daughters
abound: Lionel Hunt’s name towers over all others.  His son Ben is CD at
Creative Y&R, Kenya and daughter Abby, is a freelance TVC producer
in Sydney. Former Saatchi worldwide CD Bob Isherwood’s daughter Sophie,
was a writer in New York at Droga5, then CD at Y&R, now senior
writer at Aesop. The excitement of life at The Palace would have been
the table talk at Des Speakman’s home in Melbourne. Son Alex is a
seasoned Saatchi & Saatchi partner/planner and Edwina a TVC producer
at Filmgraphics.  Austin Begg, co-founder of Melbourne-based seventies
hot shop Begg Dow Priday, now works with his son Andrew and daughter
Samantha at Traffic.
The son of fabled and feared Dennis ‘Bear’
Everingham of 60s hot shop Rodgers Holland Everingham (aka ‘RH
Negative.’) Jamie, now happily rattles the pots and pans as a chef in
the Southern Highlands. He told me, “As far as dynasties are concerned,
my father was a dynasty unto himself and whilst I happily followed suit
as a copywriter, the enormity of his imposing frame was only matched by
his extraordinary ability.”
Rob Martin-Murphy, ECD at Ikon, is son of
hyphenated Christopher, ex-The Palace, Y&R, Mojo et al. Rob came
from solid stock, his grandfather was ad manager for the Daily Mirror in
London and Radio Luxemburg.
Art director Charlie Gearside is the son
of storyboard guru ‘Gunna,’ Paul who was artist-in-residence at
Fortune, O&M and Mojo for those Tooheys TVCs.
Yorkshireman, veteran of Mattingly and JWT, genial Geoff Ingall is
father to Dan, ex-Big Red, various JWT posts and now CEO of Cummins in
Jaid Hulsbosch learned about branding when his father Hans
took over his bedroom to set up a studio 35 years ago. He’s inherited
the task of fostering the next generation for the family company.
one wit put it, “Harold’s shoes were a bit too big for Stuart.” He
resigned from his role as deputy chairman a mere three years after his
larger than life father sold the Mitchell business for a cool $363
Ten years after his Graduate Trainee position at Ward 6, Tim
Wilson-Brown is planning director at KBS New York. His father Colin was
MD of Magnus Nankervis & Curl for 16 years, then CEO of FCB, and is
principal of The Clinic. Michael Magnus was the cultured
gentleman-founder of MN&C. At the time of his death in 2007 his
nephew Noel followed in his footsteps, having joined JWT as CEO from FCB
which had previously acquired MN&C.
Connaghan & May spawned a
number of great creatives, including copywriter and craftsman John
Bevins, whose son Dan went on to work at Spark44 in Europe. Bryce
Courtenay’s son Damon, a haemophiliac, tragically died from an
AIDS-tainted blood transfusion on April Fool’s Day, inspiring Bryce’s
novel of the same name. That reminded us too that Alan ‘Mo’ Morris left
us on the same day, eleven years ago.

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