In memory: By Mike Canavan BBS Australasia.
This morning I received the very sad news that one of the old guard; one of the greats of the Australian Advertising Industry, had passed on.
Graham “Woody” Woodlock, died peacefully, with his family and friends around him, this morning, Sunday, 3 June 2018. His final order was “Pull all this shit out of me, I feel flat as a shit Carter’s Hat!” When I read the text, I could just see him saying it.
Woody started in an infant industry, striving to find its feet. He grew together with it, into what truly could be described as the “Golden Age of Australian Advertising”.
He was at the front and centre of some of the greatest campaigns of that time, working with some of the legends, the finest directors, great musicians, and inspiring thinkers.
Before political correctness, burdensome research, and stereotyped terrified marketing personnel, advertising shone brightly. Great creative was allowed to breathe and take hold. Campaigns captured the imagination of the public and they responded to them with good humour and their cash.
Woody had a clear vision, and a deep passion for the work he did. He demanded the highest the level of achievement, which could be a manifesto of his professional life.
I was pleased to be able to count him as a close friend. He offered general counsel, advice and comfort, as and when required, but never condoned gilding the lily, self-indulgence, or self-pity.
I often met him at his much-loved “East Sydney Hotel” to share a drink or two in the afternoon. A fiercely devoted and proud grandfather, father and husband, he would rock the pram between sips of beer, dispensing advertising advice, anecdotes from past campaigns and thoughts of new and exciting business opportunities.
I can still remember the sage advice he dispensed when I asked him about an issue that was troubling me, “Canno, you have it in your heart. I can tell. But unless you’re ready to fight for what you believe in, it won’t matter.”
Today I hear those words often — and always in his voice. He became an icon of the Australian Labor Party’s advertising, working on their campaigns at both a state and federal level. His legacy will be one of brilliance, complexity, flair, passion and proof that enduring values can indeed survive.
The strength of “Woody’s” guiding principles, his respect for the consumer’s intelligence and his determination to have truth as the central pillar of the award winning and commercially successful advertising he helped create, is a testament to the way he approached work and life.
Graham “Woody” Woodlock gone but not forgotten, it won’t be the same without you mate!