Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Rebels, misfits and innovators: 50over50 – Adam Hunt

50over50 is a series of interviews with our most influential and inspiring industry leaders aged 50 and over. 

We think it’s time to recognise and celebrate the true talent in our industry, the creatives, technologists, founders and leaders that are really driving our industry and shaping society.

Adam Hunt has lived and worked in Sydney, Singapore, Amsterdam, London and New York at agencies from DDB to Saatchi & Saatchi and Y&R. He’s won every award going, including two Gold Cannes Lions, and has work is in the permanent collection of MOMA.

What one thing are you proudest of in your career?

That I’m still blissfully intoxicated by an enduring love affair with the power of ideas.

A good idea can sell stuff – but a great idea can change how people think.

What creative heights are you now capable of that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve at the early or mid-point of your career?

The wisdom of life experience.

I was asked to work on a campaign for Voluntary Euthanasia Laws the day after my terminally ill mother asked me for help to end her suffering.

The ad I wrote made history, helping to get Voluntary Euthanasia laws through the Australian Parliament for the first time.

When someone you love dies a bad death, their pain lives on – so you do what you can to fight those who would have you suffer for their beliefs.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your role today?

Not giving a fuck about shit that doesn’t matter.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?

Draw on your own life experience. You won’t create great ideas from reading Award Books or attending debauched bloated wankfests like Cannes – although I sure drank deep from that cup of decadence when I was there.

I lost far too many mates to suicide, so I wrote a suicide awareness ad from my heart that’s had over 70 million views and literally saved lives.

An idea really can be a matter of life and death.

What advice would you give your 25-year old self?                       

Take more risks – even though I’ve broken the same leg twice hang gliding.

What is the biggest mistake companies are making in their attitude to age today?

That young people know everything.

I’ve been their age – but they’ve never been mine.

What are you most excited about in your industry over the next 10 years?

Observing the moment when people finally realise that all the data in the world won’t save a shit idea.

What is your biggest regret about the industry today?

It’s pretty much lost its sense of humour – if you can make someone laugh, you can make someone listen.