Through his appearances on ABC1's hugely successful The Gruen Transfer and his appointment as Executive General Manager of Network Ten in January of 2013, Russel Howcroft has become the very public face of brand marketing and advertising in Australia. Indeed, according to media mogul Harold Mitchell, Russel Howcroft has become a brand himself, awarding him a much coveted Charlie Award on the basis of personal brand creation.
Russel, former Chief Executive Officer Australia and New Zealand at Young & Rubicam Brands, fell in love with the advertising industry after doing a week's work experience at advertising agency McCann Erickson while part way through a marketing degree at Chisholm Institute (now part of Monash University). His father had started working in advertising at the ripe old age of 45, after a career as a cartoonist and businessman, and he suggested that his son give it a go. Russel managed to extend his work experience into an 18-month job.
In his early 20s, Russel headed to London and spent five years working at Lowe Howard-Spink, one of Britain's top creative agencies. His major account was Heineken beer, and his work on that account was considered one of Britain's best ad campaigns of its time.
Russel returned to Melbourne in 1995 and co-founded Leonardi Brandhouse. He spent the next 11 years running his own agencies with various partners before joining George Patterson Y&R, Australia's oldest agency brand, as CEO in 2006. The group includes The Campaign Palace, VML, ideaworks and Brand Asset consulting.
The former Chairman of the Advertising Federation of Australia, he is a regular commentator on radio in Melbourne, a board member of the Melbourne Football Club and AFI | AACTA.
Russel Howcroft travels from Victoria Australia