Midas Spotlight Interview: Mike Spirkovski

Each year, the Midas Awards assembles the best and the brightest of agency and brand leaders who have worked in the field of financial advertising, as well as international experts in financial policy and communications to be part of the Midas Grand Jury.

These industry professionals are recruited to view global entries into the Midas Awards and select the World’s Best Financial Advertising. The results of the judging sessions are parsed into the annual Midas Report which includes Agency, Brand and Network Rankings—a veritable who’s-who in the world of financial services.

This week’s Grand Jury Spotlight interview features Mike Spirkovski, Chief Creative Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi Australia. Mike brings over 17 years of creative leadership experience to the judge’s panel. With over 17 years of industry experience, he has led numerous prominent agencies throughout his career including Clemenger BBDO, Droga5, and Leo Burnett, as well sitting on the Saatchi & Saatchi Creative Board and Worldwide Toyota Creative Leadership Team.

Throughout his career Mike has racked up numerous accolades, in 2015, under his creative leadership, Saatchi & Saatchi was awarded Australia’s Best Campaign of the Year at the AdNews Awards. This followed by best car ad in the world at the One Show Automotive Awards and in the same year opened a new Saatchi & Saatchi agency in Melbourne. And the following year, Saatchi & Saatchi was awarded back-to-back Gold at Cannes along with Australia’s only prestigious Innovation Lion, making Saatchi & Saatchi Australia the only agency in the world to have won 2 consecutive Innovation Lions.

You might remember Mike’s proudest moment when he earned the rare Cannes Titanium Lion for his Earth Hour initiative, which was cited in the Gunn Report as “the best 360 campaign ever,” and is now a globally recognized brand with billions of supporters worldwide

In the interview below Mike shares his creative insights on judging, working in financial advertising, his favorite financial ad and more.

Midas Awards: What are the challenges and benefits to judging work from around the globe.

Mike Spirkovski: I don’t really see any major challenges in judging work from around the world unless you take into considerations the hundreds, sometimes thousands of case-studies you have to watch. It can be quite the task, but also very rewarding when you see an incredible idea (just need more of them). There are many benefits like being exposed to ideas you’ve never seen before. Seeing certain brands desperate attempts to embrace technology and create amazing innovations and sometimes not so amazing. Also, observing how different cultures respond to ideas is always an interesting experience.

Midas Awards: When judging, what specifically are you looking for when determining whether a campaign is award winning.

Mike Spirkovski: I have forever believed in: an amazing piece of work makes you feel something special. It’s an odd feeling, a feeling of envy, surprise and even pride all smashed together. The fact that someone, somewhere made something that created an instant emotional response in you is an amazing piece of work.

Midas Awards: In your opinion, what are the challenges of working in financial advertising.

Mike Spirkovski: The overarching challenge is coming up with entertaining ways to talk about complicated, and rational products. The quick way around that is analogies, but that’s often not unique. It’s a difficult category since we’re dealing with people’s livelihoods; dreams, businesses etc and in order to stand out you need something innovative fresh and different to offer and a small % point off a loan isn’t enough to stand out. Innovation and product differentiation is key to delivering great creative that works.

Midas Awards: What inspires you about the industry and what do you wish you could change.

Mike Spirkovski: I’m inspired by the opportunity we have to create incredible ideas that make people feel; inspired, laugh, smile, cry and better yet help make the world a better place.

If we focus on giving people what they want rather than focussing on making people want things is more exciting for me. We have the minds in our business to create World Changing Ideas. We need to be brave and inspire our clients to be even braver.

Midas Awards: What is your favourite financial advertising campaign and why?

Mike Spirkovski: To be honest it’s a very difficult category to create real stand out work that’s highly memorable. Ideas like Geico’s crushed pre-rolls are funny and Barclays “Steven Merchant” ads are beautifully crafted and entertaining but are they innovative and breakthrough? That’s why I love ideas like “Clever Cash” for ASB Bank in New Zealand. Whilst it may be a few years old, it took a real localised problem: children’s lack in understanding the value of hard currency “cash” due to living in a cashless society, to create a modern-day version of the money box. Genius.



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