I’ve always held the view that there are two essential elements in creating advertising that works.

The first is gaining attention (that’s the cutthrough bit) and the other is creating enduring empathy for the brand.

You can be as strategically correct as you like, even pour a bucket of money into multiple communication channels but let’s not forget that a bad ad, whether it be on TV, or on Facebook, is still a bad ad and will go unrewarded. And that applies to each and every marketing agency, irrespective of size or location.

In other words, if your communication fails to cut through and establish a meaningful relationship with the consumer (that’s the empathy bit), you have achieved nothing. Pretty logical really, but the tricky bit is getting it right.

Cutthrough is a Canberra Marketing Agency committed to getting attention and creating empathy for every brand every time.

Cut to the chase

What exactly are you offering in terms of marketing and advertising smarts?

Put simply, I’ll apply my 35 plus years of experience in the Canberra marketing industry, to your business. I work in partnership with my clients to create innovative marketing and advertising strategies that have genuine cut through and most importantly, get results.

The marketing partnership bit is important. Before we can develop the appropriate marketing strategy and creative response, we mutually need to do a thorough diagnostic of your brand.

Where is it now?
Where do we want it to be?
What steps do we both need to take to get there?



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To be frank, I’m still not comfortable with the fact that the animated Jamaican character I created happens to have more Facebook friends than I do. I mean… that really does suck. That said, I'm immensely proud that Club Lime has been voted Canberra's most popular brand twice over. It's a marketing campaign that has hit a sweet spot and created enduring empathy for this iconic Canberra brand.

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I had SO much fun (or should I say ‘pun’) creating the marketing strategy and creative for this campaign. The objective was to create empathy for the brand. Empathy for a Canberra orthodontist… good grief! Anyway, I got this idea in my head that the mouth could become a stage and the teeth could do all the talking, and it went from there. It broke the mould in terms of a marketing strategy for the category.

Magnet Mart - Home warehouse logo, advertising agency canberra

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The Magnet Mart Man is probably my most recalled work, and I created and wrote this marketing campaign during my last couple of years at Grey Advertising Canberra.

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This is one of the first campaigns I created after starting Cutthrough. The campaign for Canberra's Community CPS Credit Union, was centred around the slogan “Life without a Bank” and it kicked some big goals for the client. In fact, the campaign was so successful that I was engaged by the Credit Union to lead the marketing team in developing and launching Beyond Bank nationally. Lots of hard work and travel, but a most rewarding opportunity. It's not everyday a Canberra Marketing Agency gets to launch a bank!

Cut & Paste My CV

Before Cutthrough, I enjoyed just under twenty five great years as Managing Director of Grey Worldwide Canberra. During that time the agency prospered into the largest and, I like to think, most respected marketing and advertising agency in Canberra. But twenty five years is a long time and I found my love of marketing was getting weighed down by the process. 2001 turned out to be a good year to sell my shares, so cut out I did. Enter Canberra’s marketing and advertising consultancy Cutthrough.


Bruce Mackay has worked in the communications business for over thirty years. He commenced his career at Sydney agency, Hertz Walpole, one of Australia’s most awarded and creative marketing agencies at that time.

After a four year stint at HWA, Bruce took up an offer to work for Bayer Australia and was appointed Marketing & Advertising Manager for their Animal Health Division at 23 years of age. Three years later, he accepted the offer of starting a marketing and advertising agency in Canberra, for a Melbourne based agency.

Through a series of mergers and acquisitions that entity has now evolved into Grey Worldwide Canberra. After leading the agency for nearly 25 years as Managing Director, and a member of the Grey Australia Board, Bruce sold his equity in Grey in 2001.

Bruce played an active role in the creative development of campaigns at Grey, particularly during the agency’s formative years. His wide experience in applying creativity to the communication process, together with a detailed understanding of the trials and rewards of running a business in the national capital, make Bruce a valuable resource to clients.

Bruce has also lectured and tutored at the University of Canberra (Advertising Copywriting) on a casual basis. For a number of years he was President of the ACT Enterprise Workshop, which provided “real world” experiential training in business management, marketing and corporate planning skills to emerging entrepreneurs.

Bruce now heads Cutthrough Solutions a specialised, Canberra based marketing and advertising consultancy. In addition to running his  marketing and advertising consultancy, Bruce is on the Board of Carer’s ACT, has a strong interest in fine wool growing, and (for punishment) the machinations of the Collingwood Football Club.

Your Cutting Edge?

Cutthrough Canberra has only one staff member and that’s you, how do you compete?

My time in the marketing and advertising industry has got to be good for something.

For starters, you won’t be dealing with someone still learning the ropes (at your expense), or with an overburdened marketing executive who doesn’t really have the time to think about your business like I can.

That’s one reason why I never take on business that I don’t think I can make a contribution to and why I insist on working with client ‘decision makers’ as opposed to committees.

Finally, I have a great team of strategic partners that I call upon as and when the need arises. Some of them are a little “strange” but there’s no denying their talent. Read about them below.

My Left Hand Man

Actually that’s me on the left, but my mate on the right needs special recognition. Tim Bohm from 2B is responsible for virtually all Cutthrough’s design work. Tim and I have worked together in marketing for over 20 years and I can honestly say that he hasn’t really improved. Fortunately, Tim has a hot design team that make him look like a star. You can find out more about 2B @ www.2b.com.au

My Buddy, Buddle

Richard Buddle and I met at the University of Canberra (UC) where he was Convenor in Advertising & Marketing Communication and I was a lecturer and tutor. The students loved this guy and when you read his CV you can quickly see why. Apart from being an all together nice bloke, Richard is a skilled communicator and has forgotten more about strategic planning and integrated communications than most of us will ever learn.

Richard’s professional career spans 30 years in advertising and 10 years in academia and whilst I delight in reminding him that makes him “much” older than me, his thinking is forever young!

Richard started off as a freelance photographer, went on to be an Account Manager in New Zealand’s largest ad agency then partner and shareholder in another hot-shop before being head hunted  to run Lintas Worldwide’s New Zealand offices. His time with Lintas culminated in a relocation to Japan, as Representative Director and Chairman of Hakuhodo:Lintas in Tokyo.

Richard’s international brand experience includes: Unilever, Unifoods, Streets Magnum, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, Nestlé, Compaq Computers, Honda Motor Company, Diet Coke, Elizabeth Arden, Groupe Danone, Sterling Pharmaceuticals (Smith, Kline, Beecham)

Today Richard operates as a strategic communications and brand consultant, drawing on his previous industry practice and academic research at UC, where he completed his thesis (The Dyadic Brand) and delivered several international conference papers in Dubai, Seoul, and Washington DC.

Richard and I love working together and if the brief is appropriate, we do just that.

Shannon Wilson-McClinton, TV Producer

Despite the picture suggesting otherwise, Shannon is completely trustworthy. In fact, I’ve never worked with a TV Producer like her.
Shannon is meticulous in her preparation for a shoot and her resourcefulness in organising props, talent and people like me is unbelievable. Shannon also loves her profession and has been a National Finalist in Tropfest (The World’s Largest Short Film Festival) twice over. Having said all that I’m uncomfortable writing too many more nice things about Shannon, so I’ll stop here. shannonwilson.tv