Meet the Executive Judges | Axis 2021

Posted 9 September 2020.


Convenor of Judges

Maria Devereux - Executive Creative Director, Colenso BBDO

Maria began her career at Colenso BBDO, Auckland where she won six Cannes lions in her first six years as an Art Director. Prior to being a creative, she headed up Colenso’s Design Department.

After Colenso BBDO, TAXI in Toronto called. As Creative Lead on McCain Foods shespent her days travelling back and forth across Canada in a private jet to taste test French fries. She’s held Creative Director roles at Y&R NZ, Special Group and after eight years away, she returned home to Colenso BBDO in 2016.

Her work for Pedigree SelfieSTIX has been awarded over 80 times at 23 shows. In addition to creating the world’s first doggie Snapchat, she has lit Auckland’s iconic harbour bridge with over 96,000 solar powered lights to demonstrate the city’s commitment to becoming 100% renewable, created a treehouse restaurant for Yellow, an in-flight fashion show for Air New Zealand (which took two years to receive civil aviation approval), built the NZBCF Pre Check app which teaches your hands to selfcheck through your phone screen, wrapped a New York water tower in 50 kilometres of yarn for D&AD’s call for entries and spent four weeks in an RV roaming from New York to Los Angeles to share the music of America from a smartphone.

She was recently named in Adweek’s Creative 100, awarded a Certificate of Excellence at Campaign Asia’s Women Leading Change Awards, and has collected over 100 international and local awards for her work at multiple shows including Cannes, D&AD, One Show, Spikes, Webby’s AWARD and Axis.

She has judged at D&AD, Spikes, Caples, New York Festivals, Webby Awards and local shows in both Australia and NZ.

Executive Judges


Christie Cooper - Creative Director, DDB

Christie is a Creative Director at DDB New Zealand, where she’s worked for most of her 18 years in advertising. During that time, she’s created work for everything from charities to banks, including an online Animal Strike that changed New Zealand’s animal testing laws, a Reverse April Fools’ for BMW, and the world’s first live-broadcast freediving event for Steinlager.

Along the way, she’s won some awards, been ranked in some rankings, judged on some juries, had a lot of fun, and worked with many amazing, talented people who helped make it all happen.

Christie has two children, a dog, a cat, and a pigeon. So, when she’s not working, she spends most of her time running around after them. And when she’s not doing that, she can usually be found on the couch binge-watching TV shows.


Shane Bradnick - Chief Creative Office, TBWA

Shane has more than 20 years’ industry experience. Starting as an Art Director at DDB and then TBWA South Africa before emigrating to Australia to join M&C Saatchi Sydney, and then to BMF, the Australian Agency of the Decade. In 2013 he moved to New Zealand to join DDB as Executive Creative Director in Auckland. And then to TBWA, New Zealand as the Chief Creative Officer at the beginning of 2019, which he now considers home. He has been lucky enough to have won over 200 awards at international and local shows, including Cannes, D&AD, Ad Fest, Spikes, One Show, AWARD, Axis, Effies, Webbys and the Facebook Awards. In 2009 The WON report named him the third best Art Director in the world and in 2018 the fourth best Executive Creative Director in the world.

“I have a very simple philosophy when it comes to advertising - Make stuff that people love, with people you like. It’s an exciting industry, one in which you have to be constantly making in order to be moving forward. It’s important that the work we make connects with as many people as possible and finds a place in culture. It’s even more important to make work with people that are likeminded and nice; it’s too short a career to work with dicks.”

Outside of advertising, Shane lives a rather quiet life with a very patient wife, less than patient two sons and an orange bitey-cat named Steve.


Steve Cochran - Chief Creative Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi Steve Cochran graduated in graphic design in Auckland three weeks after the stock market crash of ‘87. Despite studios closing up left, right and centre, he found work as a designer. Two years later however, he did Award School which saw him walking his book around to find a copywriting job. After stints at various agencies he eventually joined Colenso BBDO in 1997. It is here he would remain for 22 years, becoming Executive Creative Director in 2010. Over that time he played a significant role in Colenso’s culture and building its outstanding reputation. Cochran has collected awards at most of the global and local creative and effectiveness shows you could name. And he’s worked with clients in most categories you could name. After two brilliant decades at Colenso, it was finally time to move on. And where better to go than to the first agency he approached as a young creative looking for a job back in 1990. They hadn’t hired him then, but they did suggest he come back when he had more experience. Cochran joined Saatchi and Saatchi New Zealand as Chief Creative Officer in 2020.

Steve Cochran did stints at various Auckland agencies before eventually joining Colenso BBDO in 1997. Here he would remain for 22 years, becoming Executive Creative Director in 2010. Over that time he played a significant role in Colenso’s culture and building its outstanding reputation. Cochran has collected awards at most of the global and local creative and effectiveness shows you could name. And he’s worked with clients in most categories you could name. After two brilliant decades at Colenso, having built a restaurant in a tree, delivered individual ice creams to people in a semi-trailer, created a chocolate bar that tasted of yellow, and played a city-wide game of poker, among many other whack things, it was finally time to move on. Cochran joined Saatchi and Saatchi New Zealand as Chief Creative Officer in July. That same month his family got a kitten that he affectionately nick-named ‘pancake’. A pre-emptive move on account that it’s continually running across their street.


Nina East - Creative Director, Wunderman Thompson

Nina is Creative Director for Wunderman Thompson New Zealand. She has worked in media and advertising for 20 years, across Europe and New Zealand.

At age 19, Nina dropped out of design school and moved to London where she somehow blagged work experience at MTV. An internship followed and it wasn’t long before she landed in the International Creative team. Here, she spent five years creating channel idents, pro social campaigns and branding and marketing MTV global properties, including the MTV Europe Music Awards.

In 2007 Nina was tapped to create and lead the Viacom in-house commercial agency. Nina and her team spent the following seven years delivering award winning global ad campaigns for some of the world’s most successful and most-loved brands; they launched the 21st century VW Beetle globally, created an upcoming artist platform for Swatch, and executed a four year partnership producing ad campaigns for adidas.

In 2014 Nina returned to New Zealand and was appointed Creative Director of Copper Brand Experiences. Under Nina’s strategic and creative direction, the agency grew to become New Zealand’s most awarded specialist experiential agency.

Nina joined Wunderman Thompson as Creative Director in 2017 and has been responsible for multiple award-winning campaigns, including the KiwiHarvest Read & Feed annual report and the University of Auckland Never Stop brand platform.

Nina’s career highlights include a 13 storey art battle on the front of an Auckland building, transforming Marilyn Manson into a pizza delivery man, starring as a goth in a Bloc Party promo and directing Tom Cruise.


Heath Lowe - Executive Design Director & Founding Partner, Special Group

Heath Lowe is Executive Design Director and a founding partner of Special Group in New Zealand and Australia.

Hailing from America’s Midwest, his career began in the US and Europe working alongside some of the world’s most ambitious companies — Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Miller Brewing Co., Foot Locker — to bring their unique vision and products to market and connect their brand cultures to, well, real culture.

His design strategies encourage the listening and thinking it takes to define the customer needs that drive a brand’s purpose and a product’s promise, leading to experiences that matter. Whether it’s brand identity or packaging design, pop-ups or digital activations, this approach delivers the work and results that make a real and positive difference to audiences, businesses and creative culture.

In his twelve years behind the wheel of Special’s design business, Heath has been responsible for award-winning work that has helped to position New Zealand brands like ecostore, Karma Cola, OOB Organics and the Royal New Zealand Ballet among the best in the world. Work that has endeared hearts and homes to local brands as diverse as The Oyster Inn, Tip Top, Molenberg and the Green Party.

All-in-all, it’s what this rodeo-riding Illinois farm boy calls just another honest day’s work.