Staff Reporters
Dec 2, 2021

Creative Minds: Shanan Goldring and the thrill of opportunity

The creative director at Initiative Studio answers 11 of our questions. Learn how he still gets a tingle from every new brief, see his favourite work (by himself and others), and find out why he's neither a test cricketer nor a timber-industry tycoon.

Creative Minds: Shanan Goldring and the thrill of opportunity
In Creative Minds, we get to know APAC creatives through their answers to 11 questions, ranging from serious to silly (Why 11? Just because). Want to be featured?

Name: Shanan Goldring 

Origin: Auckland

Places lived/worked: Auckland, Sydney, London, Vancouver


  • Creative director, Initiative Studio, Sydney (2017-present)
  • Digital creative director, BWM Dentsu, Sydney (2015-2016)
  • National creative director, Wunderman, Sydney (2012-2014)
  • Senior integrated art director, DDB, Sydney (2010-2012)
  • Art director - Senior digital creative, Aim Proximity, Auckland (2007-2010)

1. How did you end up being a creative?

One of my earliest memories is drawing Dogmatix on the living room wall in permanent marker. My parents were stoked, so as punishment I was given packet of Stephens painting sticks and an A3 pad—which I filled in a week. From that moment on I was always destined to be a creative, first as a designer, then an art director and currently a CD.

2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

As creatives there’s probably not many among us who hasn’t presented an idea with ‘we open in Tokyo’. My advice, never stop trying.

Telstra’s ‘Sushi Plane’ flew a bunch of young super connected Aussies to Tokyo and dropped them into an intense Japanese game show and augmented-reality experience. We hardly let them sleep, as we followed our group for every waking hour, creating three webisodes consisting of sumo wrestling, drag racing and the most horrific sushi that you have ever eaten. All content was posted to our dedicated site and to their large social networks, via their Telstra HTC handset. This was influencer marketing before influencer marketing was even a thing and on launch, the phones completely sold out. [Goldring helped create this campaign when he was with DDB.] 

3. What's your favourite piece of work created by someone else?

Being a massive cat lover, for me it’s hard to go past Toyota Corolla’s ‘Feels good inside’ TVC, by the talented bunch at Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand.

Anyone who’s taken a cat on a car ride knows how much they hate it, so showcasing what lengths would a cat go to for a ride if they loved it? The hyperbolic story perfectly marries strategy and creative together to give consumers a sense of the great feeling you get in the all new Corolla.

Starring an exceedingly furry feline who enjoys time in the Corolla so much that it begins to orchestrate accidents that force ever more visits to the animal hospital. Eventually, the cat appears to take things too far—allowing itself to be swallowed whole by a street sweeper. (Sooner or later, every junkie hits rock bottom.) But even this proves not to be the end of our hero, who evidently has been graced with more than the usual nine lives.

Epic stuff, wish I could call it mine!

4. What/who are your key creative influences?

I owe so much to my first ever CD, Dave King. First a boss, then a mate but always a mentor. I’m still lucky enough to collaborate with him on ideas from time to time.

5. What career did you think you'd have when you were a kid?

Test cricketer, I was a reasonably talented wicketkeeper back in the day with the fingers to prove it. Unfortunately struggled with the short ball.

6. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.

As a student I worked in a timber yard. I made out with the boss's daughter at the Christmas party, subsequently things went steadily downhill from that moment.

7. What really motivates you?

The work and the thrill of the opportunity that comes with every creative brief, no matter the size.

8. What's the last song/artist you listened to?

Baby shark, I have a toddler so my playlist has changed dramatically. Given the choice it would be The Pixies on repeat.

9. What movie/show do you never get tired of?

Twin Peaks. David Lynch’s unique cinematic style characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound design just keeps me coming back time after time.

10. Tell us about your tattoo(s).

None as yet or ever. My body is a lump of clay not a blank canvas.

11. Tell us about a charity or cause you think needs more attention.

Men’s health, especially depression. It’s a hard thing to explain and even harder to talk about for most men. All too often we hear about the struggles far too late.

Related Articles

Just Published

3 hours ago

APAC consumers trust DTC websites more than ...

According to a Reprise study, consumers who prefer to engage with DTC brands and buy on their websites do so because they consider consumer brands to be more trusted, authentic and having a wider variety of products.

3 hours ago

Behind the 'overly successful' launch of Trust Bank ...

The marketers behind the new digital bank by Stanchart and NTUC FairPrice explain how accessibility, incentives and attention to user journeys ignited astronomical success that 'most other banks take a year to achieve'.

3 hours ago

Grey Singapore and Malaysia consolidate under new ...

The roles of the current Malaysia CEO and CCO are expanded to include full commercial and creative responsibility across both the Malaysia and Singapore studios.

3 hours ago

A humanoid robot feels the tenderness of human touch

BBH Singapore joins hands with Singaporean charity Touch to show the healing power of a hug.