Diploma in Creative Advertising

Henry Kember’s choice to enroll in Media Designs School’s AdSchool programme is what you’d call a ‘last minute’ decision: “I only decided to apply about three weeks before Adschool kicked off. All I knew about it was that it would be intense, but really interesting.”


“I hadn't had a TV in my flat for about three years and my only understanding of 'good advertising' came from a 1998 D&AD annual in the local library - so if nothing else, I was looking forward to finding out what the hell great advertising actually was!"

According to Henry, life at AdSchool was both exciting and frenetic, with lots of creative decisions being produced with tight deadlines. “It moves so fast you barely get time to be proud of anything before you get thrown into the next project,"

“I remember a billboard brief for a sports drink that I agonised about for weeks and about two days before hand-in, I finally cracked it. There's nothing notable or unusual about that, and I don't think the final idea would be considered particularly fresh now, but it was a huge relief, put it that way!"

When Adschool finished for the year, Henry says that he felt “Knackered but satisfied."

“We all went off to Mission Bay and had a few drinks. I think I swam? Possibly in my clothes?" laughs Henry.

So, what does it take to truly be creative? Henry says that there are a few traits that can help but that he “wouldn't call any one thing essential."

“Hard work helps. Research helps. A sense of humour helps. Piercing insight definitely helps. Let's look at it this way: it'd be hard to crack a great idea without at least one of those things."

After completing his Diploma in Creative Advertising in 2005 and working at a few agencies in New Zealand, Henry landed a job as a copywriter at The Monkeys agency in Sydney, Australia, where he remains today.

Now that Henry is working in Australia, does he consider his Kiwi compatriots are especially creative? Of course, he says!

“It's a bunch of cliches but I'll say them anyway: number 8 wire mentality, a culture whose uniqueness stems from geographical isolation, an impish sense of self-deprecation and self-awareness, and a strong work ethic. Yup, cliches every one."

Henry has no regrets about making that last minute decision to join the Adschool. “It's your best shot at getting a job as a creative - both because of its interface with the NZ ad industry, and because the course's intensity and timetable means you go into your Internship ready to work at the same ratio as everyone else."

“And because Kate is ace. Bless her."

Three things that get Henry out of bed in the morning:

  • Ideas;
  • Doing crazy interesting things on someone else's dime;
  • A highly punctual art director.

The three most challenging parts of Henry's job:

  • Pressure;
  • Maintaining optimism in the face of rejection;
  • Accepting that sometimes time and money permit only so much.

Three things Henry like most about Kate Humphries mentorship:

  • Her genuine interest and enthusiasm in everyone's ideas irrespective of their merit (and I had some shockers);
  • Her generosity with her time;
  • Her ability to make people knuckle down and go one better, without striking fear into them.