The advertising industry mourns the loss of Geoff Fischer, the long-standing creative at Clemenger Group, UrsaClemenger, and CHEP Network, where he showcased his talent as a writer. Geoff passed away last Thursday after bravely battling a 20-month illness, leaving behind his much-loved wife, Sylvianne, and children, Ash and Ruby.
Geoff was a genuinely lovely man who truly cherished his role in the industry. In a poignant farewell speech from a year ago, he shared the highs and lows of his career with his customary sense of humour.
Starting at Leo Burnett in 1988 under the mentorship of CD John Bailey, whom he regarded as the best creative he ever worked with, Geoff learned the value of fighting for ideas he believed in. Reflecting with a wry smile, he acknowledged that it may have made him a bit too belligerent in his early years.
During Geoff’s time at JWT he teamed up with Art Director Helen Shortis, starting a prolific working relationship that lasted 25 years, through Ogilvy, UrsaClemenger and CHEP.
Geoff’s favorite ad that he had created was the TV spot for Bushells featuring Kathy Freeman and Arthur Tunstall. This campaign, centred around bringing together individuals with very public conflicts for a cup of tea, not only earned accolades in award annuals but also won a racial tolerance award from the South Australian government—a source of great pride for Geoff. He coined the enduring ‘Life’s Good’ tagline for LG Electronics and authored the ‘Curing Homesickness’ line for the APAC Effie’s Grand Prix-winning campaign for the Sydney Children’s Hospital. Geoff was particularly proud of the work he did for Wayside Chapel, creating the long-standing Love Over Hate positioning.
When asked about the best advice he ever received, Geoff shared this gem: “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission,” a mantra he believed creative people should embrace.
Geoff was beloved at every agency he graced with his presence, in part due to his unwavering advocacy for the next generation of talent. In his farewell speech, he expressed deep appreciation for the exceptional qualities of the young professionals he had the privilege of working with. In his words: “Over the past 10 years I’ve found myself defending the merits of young people. My generation bitches about younger people. Every older generation does. But, I always say the kids I work with, and they all are kids compared to me, are an exceptional bunch of people. They are better educated, more articulate, more politically aware and if I have to be honest they are just nicer to each other than we are. I’ve considered it a real privilege late in my career to work with a bunch of young people who have been so good to me.”
Geoff’s kindness and gentle spirit endeared him to many, and his absence will be keenly felt by many across the industry. He leaves behind a legacy that will be remembered and missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.