Vale ad legend Gawen Rudder: no one knew the history of Australian advertising better
UPDATE: Gawen’s funeral will be held at All Saints Church, Hunters Hill today (Monday March 6) from 10.30am. Guests are invited to wear a splash of colours in Gawen’s honour. The service will be followed by a wake from 12 noon at Hunters Hill Hotel.
Many in the Australian advertising industry will be saddened to hear of the passing of Gawen Rudder, who, amongst many great achievements, mentored generations of graduate trainees, following their achievements and helping those who help themselves.
Gawen spent a lifetime dedicated to the industry he loved, working with dozens of advertising greats including Phillip Adams, Ted Horton, David Mattingly, Hugh Mackay, Mo & Jo, John Bevins, Russel Howcroft and so many others.
Gawen had a passion for training in advertising, public relations and marketing communications, learning and sharing the wisdom of history and relating this to the Shock of the New. He was always searching for parallels between art and the craft of communications. He mentored generations of graduate trainees, following their achievements and helping those who help themselves.
Gawen explored all forms of creativity within and outside his previous role at The Communications Council. He launched The Knowledge Consultancy, conducting workshops and providing advice. Sharing knowledge, writing and promoting only what he believed in.
He found ways to make a difference and elevate the profession, striving always to find a balance between an insatiable work ethic and a fulfilling life outside of what most people call ‘work.’
Gawen said he was always inspired and amazed by the sea, the sky and interesting people. He loved his life, his writing (including regular, entertaining columns for Campaign Brief) and his painting.
From 1976 to 1994 Gawen was Director – Network Communications, Business Development, Group Account Director at Monahan Dayman Adams, then Mojo/MDA, Chiat/Day/Mojo; and finally at Mojo Australia.
From 1994 to 2001 he was Client Business Resource at John Bevins Advertising in Sydney.
Gawen then took on the Manager, Membership, Business Services & Advice role at Advertising Council Australia from 2001 to 2014.
In that capacity, his greatest passion was running Graduate Training, a program that many current industry leaders completed.
In 2014 Gawen started his own business, The Knowledge Consultancy.
Apart from his entertaining ~ and always educational ~ columns for CB over the years, Rudder was always the go-to guy when it came to the history of Australian advertising. One great example is this piece in AdNews a few years back.
More tributes to Gawen on the Monahan Dayman Adams’ Facebook Page
Gawen’s funeral will be held at All Saints Church, Hunters Hill on Monday March 6 from 10.30am. Guests are invited to wear a splash of colours in Gawen’s honour. The service will be followed by a wake from 12 noon at Hunters Hill Hotel.
Gawen Rudder was many things.
A teacher. An ad man. An artist. A husband. A father. A gentleman.
Always interested. Always interesting. Always changing, but always the same.
Gawen gave our industry more than he ever took.
I will miss him and am forever grateful for the friendship he blessed me with
for nearly 40 years.
Australian advertising has lost a good man.
One thing that always struck me about Gawen was that at the myriad functions we ran into each other at over the decades, he was always keen to meet new people. He didn’t just hang back with all his old mates, he would circulate and strike up conversations with the people he didn’t know. Not only was Gawen keeper of the flame with his encyclopaedic knowledge of aussie advertising history, he remained curious about the industry’s present and future. Vale.
An industry icon. He will be greatly missed.
What a great man.
Gawen was always so kind, from when I met him as a baby creative, to bumping into him at functions over the years. A true gentleman.
One of the good guys.
Gawen was my first boss. And my friend. I’m honoured to be a pall-bearer at his funeral.
Grateful for the privilege of knowing Gawen from the good old days at MDA. A kind witty talented man. A true gentleman.
Gawen was incredibly supportive of young people entering this industry. I greatly appreciate time and (damn good) advice he gave young grads, but most importantly his love and enthusiasm for great work which was contagious.
Sad to hear this news. What a gentlemen and passionate, enthusiastic supporter of our business. I met Gawen and sought his advice on a number of occasions of which he was only too happy to chat and discuss all things advertising and beyond. A lovely, warm, witty and sincere man.
Gawen,you made a difference.You’ll be missed. Vale Gawen.
Never has the title ‘A Scholar and a Gentleman’ been better held. From our working together in the 80s to networking and build Mojo/MDA then Chiat Day/Mojo, to our treasured morning coffee catch-ups accidental or arranged at Dose Cafe, Willoughby, you will be most fondly remembered. Vale ‘My Friend’ (your warmly meant and received phrase). My unknowing, unsung hero. CMM x
Writer, raconteur, artist, and mentor. My distanced friend whose ethics classes inspired: your poetry, your beautiful watercoloured cards: the boldly coloured pockets of joy I loved opening – coupled with your impressionist handwriting which I’d always have to call you to explain. “Riiiiiiiight,” he’d say. O captain, my captain, his magnificent pursuits in all directions were like no other. I thank he and Marilyn, Guy and Astrid for their friendship. Miss you already G. Alishous. xx
As a former Comms Council grad, I recall the fond memories of his passion for the industry and nurturing young talent. A true gentleman and someone we should aspire to be like.
I was fortunate to have worked with Gawen at Mojo. He was a professionally generous man who made a difference to many of us. Vale Gawen.
The beautiful comments above say it better than I could. He was always exceptionally kind, curious and charismatic. Thank you for being a shining light of this industry. Vale Gawen.
I don’t think I could say it better than Ted at the top of these comments. Thank you for being you Gawen.
“I do believe Adrian, in that building over there occurred advertising’s last known shooting….”
No one cared more for advertising’s story.
Gawen ever since my first days entering the industry as a graduate intern, to the most recent Knowledge Workshops you ran across our agencies, you’ve been an ever-present and ever-important part of this business. Always a such a pleasure to spend time with (and always so polite!) Your support for our industry and the people in it, especially those coming into it, is legendary. As has been said above, you will be long-remembered both for your generosity and for being a true gentleman.
Gawen, gawen, gone.
I always looked up to him, especially with the old quiff which made him tower over me.
A genuine, passionate, curious man who loved ads and the ad business.
He leaves it Rudderless.
I liked Gawen very much, he was quite the character.
Sad news. Australian advertising will miss him. x
Gawen brought a wealth of enthusiasm, knowledge and advertising history to the AFA ( now ACA) in 2001 and shared it with new generations of keen young trainees, never pausing for breath or fazed in any way by the challenges of the digital age.He was a great asset to the industry and a treasured friend to many. He will be greatly missed.
Gawen not only believed in advertising ,he genuinely loved it.That passion,coupled with his well honed intellect,sharp wit and charmingly quirky personality made him a colourful raconteur and an irreplaceable archivist for our industry.
Thanks for the all the yarns Gawen.
And thanks for caring.
You will be much missed.
Just looking at the names who have commented here says so much about Gawen and the impact he had on our industry and those who lead it.
Yes Gawen was wise and insightful. But he was gentle and compassionate. That’s how I experienced him and how I will remember him.
Unusual type in the ad scene that is hard to find in today’s industry. Learn please.
Gawen was always passionate, thoughtful and had a twinkle in his eye to share his knowledge and advice. A sad loss. RIP Gawen.
Sad. What a lovely man.
Thanks Gawen for hiring me as a AFA Graduate way back when.
Looks like you changed much more than just my life.
Everything that can and should be said, has been said above, but thank you Gawen for all your help over many years and your relentless enthusiasm for what could be possible. Rest well my friend.
Gawen was very good to new comers – breaking the ice and making everyone feel welcome. I’m very grateful for all his help while he was at the AFA.
A good man indeed.
Always had a unique way of finding the way in. You’ll be missed Gawen.
Such sad news to hear – his like will never be seen again, I fear.
When I was part of the True North (FCB) shebang that finally took over Mojo in the early nineties, Gawen was a rare and often hilariously funny narrator of the slow-motion train crash that we could all see unfolding before us. He calmed the raging beast in me at that time and helped me channel it into making the work the best it could be, despite everything else. RIP, Sir.
Gawen was my first ever client in Australia, in January 1970. We have remained friends across those 53 years. He was a fascinating man of incredibly diverse interests and knowledge. But no subject commanded his interests more than advertising about which his knowledge was encyclopaedic. He was a very wise and witty man who helped many along the way. The industry will miss him greatly, as shall all those who knew him.
Thanks for caring and sharing your infinite wisdom, Gawen. You made a difference to generations of Australian ad folk. RIP.
This year marks 30 years since we worked together at Mojo. You taught me from the very outset that a youthful energy and passion were two fundamental ingredients of an enduring and successful career in this industry. Thank you for all that you gave and shared.
I can only endorse the eloquent and thoroughly deserved tributes above.
Gawen would be pleased to know so many thought so much of him.
An ad man and a gentleman. Vale Gawen
An industry legend. Welcomed many to the industry via the AFA. One of the kindest, passionate and humble leaders this industry has produced. Vale Gawen.
A huge loss. Gawen was a total gentleman and a consumate pro with an unquenchable thirst for everything advertising. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of who did exactly what on every great Australian campaign every made. We will miss you legend.
I have only just read of Gawen’s passing. So sad.
Consensus clearly from others around Gawen’s contribution to the Ad industry. Undeniable and no one else in his footsteps.
Fortunately I also had the pleasure of working with Gawen at Mojo over many years, so I know he was also a clever, funny and a true gentleman…in the true sense of the word. Not many left.
Thank you Gawen Rudder for being just a top bloke. I’ll miss you.
Gawen was a wise, interesting, generous man, who was always looking to give back to the industry. I met him many times during his time at the AFA and always enjoyed his company. He will be missed by many, but his role in helping develop the future stars of the ad industry ensures his legacy will live on. RIP Gawen.
Dear Gawen, you were a wonderful source of knowledge, calmness and inspiration to me when I was part of a team launching an agency. You will be remembered with incredible fondness by myself and clearly many, many others. Thank you for everything.
Gawen was one of the first people I encountered in the industry and mentored my graduate group. He left an impression on me as one of the most passionate, generous people you could find in this industry. It’s wonderful to read all these comments and to know he made the same impression on so many others. Vale Gawen.
Very sad news. Gawen was always a wise counsel to me and a good friend. His insights were always illuminating and if Gawen didn’t know something about the history of Aussie advertising, it never happened. The industry has lost one of its true treasures. Vale mate.
What a wonderful man. In addition to everything else he did in his career, he gave just such a monumental amount of his time to people starting in the industry (through the AFA Grad program and beyond).
A lovely gentleman who’s energy, enthusiasm and kindness were infectious. It was always a pleasure to be in his company. So sad to hear of his passing. He will be dearly missed.