Shaking up the industry

It has been only a year and a bit since Ben Henare Kidd took up the role of Junior Art Director at DDB Aotearoa, and already he is shaking up the advertising industry by bringing culture and diversity into his work.

Ben has always been a creative, knowing from a young age that he wanted to do something in this realm but not knowing exactly what. 

Despite initially thinking he wanted to be a doctor, Ben chose a different path, studying Communications at AUT and then “falling into marketing”. 

“It just encompassed a lot of things that I enjoyed, creating ideas, creating campaigns and ultimately doing stuff that can change the world,” says Ben. 

In a cutthroat industry that churns out creativity, Ben has excelled, introducing a fresh perspective.

In the span of a year, Ben has worked across a number of campaigns at DDB Aotearoa, but one project that encapsulates his uniqueness in the world of advertising was the McDonald’s and Māori Language Week campaign. 

This campaign was the perfect opportunity for him to showcase two things, one, his Māori heritage, and two, his youth.

These factors were the perfect recipe for connecting with the target audience for the campaign. 

Despite having all the ingredients, the McDonald’s campaign was by far his hardest brief yet, as he also had to factor in cultural significances that were important to both his heritage and generation.

“But the benefit or the rewarding bit was actually feeling like we’re a part of a community and teaching them what is valuable to others,” he says. 

Using his Māori heritage, Ben applied his unique knowledge and perspective to come up with the concept for the campaign. 

Being culturally different to most in the advertising world allowed Ben to hone in on his heritage to come up with new fresh ideas. 

And despite being Gen Z in an industry that values experience, this actually worked in Ben’s favour. 

Just like any Gen Z, when asked where they get inspiration from, Ben looks towards what he knows best; TikTok, pop culture, his experiences, and his Gen Z peers. And these are reflected in the Māori Language Week McDonald’s campaign. 

“I think working in tune with what I relate to and what I want to see definitely brings something new to the table,” adds Ben. 

Heading into 2024, Ben believes the future of advertising is becoming more of a reflection of what society truly looks like, and moving forward, the creative industry can expect a slew of new and fresh ideas, similar to Ben’s, that have never been seen before. 

This article was first published in our December/January 2023/2024 issue.

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About Bernadette Basagre

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email [email protected].

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