Roald VAN WYK

Group Creative Director | RAZORFISH

Roald van Wyk is the Executive Creative Director at SapientRazorfish New York, where he oversees creative work for several of the agency’s East Region clients, including Mercedes-Benz, Trojan, Clinique and Hellman’s.  He has over 20 years of global experience in advertising and digital marketing, creating cross-cultural integrated campaigns for brands like Heineken, Nokia, Audi, HSBC, Levi’s, adidas, Cartier - among others.   He started his career in Johannesburg and went on to hold creative positions in Amsterdam, Singapore, Tokyo, Oslo and New York. Before joining Razorfish he served as CMO of Tone, a mobile technology start-up that connected remote communities with mobile data. This involved working closely with the US State Department, NGO’s, brands and mobile carriers to develop sustainable mobile data access around the world.

questionnaire

What was your very first job?

In college, I worked as a runner (PA) on film sets in Cape Town and my first advertising job was as an art director at Ogilvy when I was 21.

Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.

I work with my team to create digital campaigns for a range of our clients. No project or brief is the same in the digital space. We constantly look smart innovate ways to solve a client’s challenge. This can consist of video content, social activations, experiences etc. I recently established the Connected Content Studio at SapientRazorfish in New York. This merges production with all our disciplines (strategy, technology, creative, data etc. ) to produce more engaging work.

How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today?

I went straight to university after high school with no real plan and ended up dropping out of my Business Science degree due to complete boredom. This coincided with me finding a copy of Creative Review magazine that someone had left in my university’s library smoking room (!) I had a very classical fine art training in high school, so seeing international design and advertising as a career really had an impact on me. I then started working as a “runner” (basically a PA) on film sets. I was driving two Dutch agency creatives around Cape Town and fetching them stuff while they were shooting a Rabo bank commercial. That was it. I was completely hooked by the fact that they could make things and get paid for it and they were having a lot of fun while doing it. I then went back to college focusing on art and design and started interning at a local agency. Then Ogilvy hired me.

In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?

In no particular order and in complete contradiction: 1. Change is good. 2. Life is too short to be doing the same thing over and over. 3. If it begins to feel like a job, it’s time to leave  4. Travel and try and experience other cultures and countries. Know what it is like to buy milk in Tokyo on a Tuesday. 5. Embrace all the change and hype in our industry and realize it is more fun to be a part of it than trying to constantly fight it. 6. Advertising is what it is. It’s art and commerce. A brutal mix. Understand it and work with it.

If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be? 

There is a project called “mfish” that I worked on where we helped Indonesian fishermen improve their lives through mobile technology. We connected them to each other, their communities, the web and the NGO’s monitoring the ocean through affordable data. 

jury

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ACD | THE CREATIVE GROUP, CONDE NAST
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ACD | BERGDORF GOODMAN
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