Staff Reporters
Dec 8, 2010

Q&A: Y&R's Matthew Godfrey

Matthew Godfrey, president of Y&R Asia,

Y&R Asia president Matthew Godfrey
Y&R Asia president Matthew Godfrey

How did you get into the industry?
I started in 1989 in dispatch in George Patterson Sydney. It was standard then for new entrants to start at the bottom - get the bosses lunch, send mail, wash the directors cars, bind books, do what ever they wanted. In that agency Hamish McLennan (global CEO and chairman of Y&R) was there already rocking in account service. Perfect way to start.

What was your first ever job?
I wrote/ plagiarised my first commercial when I was nine years old at school. It was for Uncle Sam's toothpaste. It had a jingle and an interpretive dance. I never got paid for it.

The first job that I actually received funding for was milk delivery boy. I was 14 and I ran behind the milk van for three hours for $12 and all the free chocolate milk you could drink. It was a great gig.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My ability to sing every note of every song completely off-key.. happily.

On what occasion do you lie?
I'm a really bad liar. I prefer just to reposition the truth on occasion. See next question.

Name one thing about yourself that few people know.
I actually have a full head of lush hair. I simply choose male pattern baldness.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"I've got a flight to catch..."

What’s your most evocative childhood memory?
Simplicity. Growing up was very simple. Football in the winter, cricket in the summer, great friends at school, love from the family. Innocence, safety and openness everywhere.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Still working on this. Need Y&R to be number one in Asia.

What makes you happy?
Most things. I am instinctively motivated to be positive and be energetic. I'm extremely lucky and try to be happy about everything. Even the bad bits.

What is the most interesting place you have ever been?
Anywhere when I'm with my wife and family. They captivate me.

What is the last book you read?
The book of email. It's continuous, addictive, full of surprises and countless authors. Not sure how it ends but it’s out on blackberry now.

When did you last cry and why?
I often laugh until I cry. But tears were last seen at John Archer's funeral a couple of weekends ago. All of his mates were on the boat as we sprinkled him into the Gulf of Thailand. The silence and tears from the lads said it all. Bless.

What is your greatest regret?
Marcus Rebeschini said the other day that life is too short to live with regrets, just embrace them and move on. It really inspired me. I'll give it a go, starting now.

If you can spend one day with a celebrity/ historical figure, who would it be?
That would be a gift. Perhaps Pharaoh Khufu? I'd love to hear how and why the Pyramids of Giza were built. Or sit with Plato and discuss Atlantis. Imagine that?

What do you see when you look in the mirror?
I had a client who once called me egotistical... but I always see potential. I am very hungry to help clients grow through innovation and for Y&R to be number one.

Describe your typical day?
No such thing. Every day is unique. But great clients and great colleagues are the constants to search for. So I start everyday with optimism.

What is the one campaign you wish you had not made? (question supplied by McCann Worldgroup APAC's Dave McCaughan)
Perhaps the Nokia 3650 campaign. It’s still on You Tube with over a million hits... Despite what the lawyers wanted. No other comment is allowed!

Can you suggest a question for our next Q&A candidate?
If Hollywood is making a movie of your life... Which movie star would play you and why?

Related Articles

Just Published

2 days ago

Crash Course: How to market to consumers during Ramadan

The month of Ramadan is fertile ground for brands as both a key shopping event and an opportunity to align with the key tenets such as Zakat. How can brands tap this opportunity in a thoughtful way, and how has Covid-19 altered Ramadan behaviours?

2 days ago

Uncle Tobys attacks green juices, reality TV ...

The Nestle brand pairs up with Ogilvy Sydney in a bid to inspire the country to ‘wake the fake up’.

2 days ago

Mural project beautifies cities in more ways than one

INSPIRATION STATION: A Converse initiative sees young artists in cities around the world creating works of art that feed the soul while also cleaning the air.

2 days ago

Publicis CEO on growth and Epsilon's instrumental role

Arthur Sadoun speaks to Campaign after reporting organic revenue growth of 2.8% in the first three months of 2021.