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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : September October 2007
It ’s a big ad challenge. Paul Catmur joined an agency suffering a great deal of turmoil but there’s hope at the end of the tunnel for the ECD of George Patterson Y&R, Melbourne. As a former croupier in the Bahamas, Catmur must have known the stakes were high when he joined the agency last December teaming with newly appointed managing director Russel Howcroft. Then again, he did leave DDB Auckland, where he was most recently ECD Asia Pacific after seven years, because he was ready for the next challenge. “I certainly got that,” he tells Campaign Brief. “This is an agency that had its guts ripped out of it a year ago – it’s been a slow process but when you lose the managing director, the creative director, the group art director and the most senior creatives it’s not easy to maintain morale. I’ve made some progress; things are calmer now,” he says. It can’t help that WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell is still suing the ex-creative director James McGrath, now at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, and the ex-managing director Anthony Heraghty, now at Foster’s, with salt added to the wound when Foster’s realigned its account earlier this year. Patts got to keep flagship brand VB, for which it created the famous Talking Boonie Doll, but Carlton Draught and Pure Blonde went to Clems and Crown Lager to Badjar Ogilvy Melbourne. Asked about pressure to come up with the agency’s next ‘Big Ad’, the Carlton Draught spot that propelled GPY&R, Melbourne to international stardom in 2005, Catmur says: “Dare I say it but there are more important issues at play than the creative output. Obviously we want to do something as good as that but that ad came from three to four years of stability and was the third ad in a campaign. It takes a while for that to emerge”. With stabilising the agency his first priority he’s hired several key creatives including former GPY&R Sydney creative Simon Bagnasco, former Fallon creative Scott Cooney from the US and Robbie Brammall and Ant Hatton from Clemenger BBDO Sydney. This is only the third agency Catmur has worked at since switching from working as a croupier in the Bahamas. “Three months as a croupier is quite fun, five years is way too long,” he says. Catmur studied at London’s School of Communication Arts under the late John Gillard and considers him a mentor despite disagreeing with him a lot, “which is all part of the creative process,” according to Catmur, who finished studying on the Friday and started a three-week creative placement at Young & Rubicam London the following Monday. He left nine-and-a-half years later to join DDB in New Zealand, a country that was already home to former classmate and then creative partner Mike O’Sullivan (now ECD of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand) whom he also considers a mentor. The third is Marty O’Halloran, his former CEO at DDB Auckland (now CEO, Australia and NZ). Catmur misses New Zealand more than his native England, not least because of its great fishing spots. “Everyone needs a hobby,” he says, before disappearing to a mobile free zone, somewhere in the wilderness, where he hopes the fish are biting. PHOTOGRAPHY: DEREK HUGHES RETOUCHING: MARK YOUNG LOCATION: THE ROCKS
November December 2007
July August 2007