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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : September October 2007
UP FRONT TE AMW OR K MELHUISH& WARREN BROWN AND MATTHEW MELHUISH FIRST MET IN LONDON IN THE 1980S while they were working at BBH. Back to Australia they worked together again at Th e Campaign Palace for sev eral years b efore s tarting Brown Melhuish Fishlock with former partner Paul Fishlock . Celebrating its 10th anniversary last year, BMF had become one of the country’s most succe ssful independent agencies. After resist- ing dozens of offers over the years, in September they sold the a gency to The Photon Group for $25 million. But don’t expect them to be sailing off into the sunset anytime soon, with plans afoot to expand the agency internationally. YOU’VE JUST SOLD THE AGENCY TO THE PHOTON GROUP - HOW WILL THINGS CHANGE AT BMF? Brown Day-to-day it will be business as usual and nothing will change. Having Photon’s support will make a difference though if an exciting opportunity presents itself. Melhuish The great thing about Photon is that they are very clear that they don’t want to interfere with a successful business. Unlike many other potential partners Photon don’t have a culture or a brand they are trying to impose. They were very clear that their role is to support us and help us grow our business and the BMF brand. They appreciate what we have built in BMF to date and only want to see it continue to develop and grow further. Their track record with other companies they have acquired over time certainly bears this out. YOU HAD MANY OFFERS OVER THE YEARS TO SELL…. WHY NOW AND WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THE PHOTON OFFER YOU COULDN’T RESIST? Brown For 11 years we’ve been fiercely independent, proud of our work, our people and our culture. We’ve talked to virtually everyone over the years but what set Photon apart was they understood right from the start how important BMF was to us. The individuals in Photon are passionate and ambitious and we feel very comfortable being around people like that. Melhuish It was the right deal, with the right partner, at the right time. We wanted to keep and grow our culture and brand and this deal allows that to happen. We liked their approach to doing busi- ness, their passion to succeed and the fact they are Australian and headquartered here. We can now better access additional capital to fund future growth opportunities. Their philosophy in letting us continue to control our business and our destiny played a key role in our choice of them as the right partner for us. OK, GOING RIGHT BACK, WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET? Brown At BBH in London in 1986, I was working on the launch of the new Audi 80 with Barbara Nokes and Matt was the new account manager. Melhuish I got a job at BBH and remember on my first day meeting this young creative star who also happened to be a very friendly, down to earth, good Aussie bloke. He had a mop of dark hair then! DESCRIBE YOUR YEARS WORKING TOGETHER BrownMatt and I hate backing away from a challenge and we both have an intense dislike of losing, he’s a great guy to have on your team. Melhuish Warren has a fantastic creative talent but he is an adult with it. He is able to see things from all sides and this is a tremen- 38 CAM PA I GN B RIE F dous strength. We have always been a great team, we respect each other’s views and know we will always get to a better place together. We both appreciate that our differences make the end result stronger, it’s a case of 1+1=3. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WORK PRODUCED OVER THE YEARS? AND WHY? Brown Tough one but probably the Anti Smoking campaign for the Federal Government. It was hugely successful and ran in over 50 countries. Watching several autopsies in a morgue together just so we could create a better campaign tends to stick in the memory bank. Melhuish Hmm I’d have to agree. To use advertising to stop people doing something they are physically addicted to (which makes them feel good while their doing it and bad when they stop) is incredibly difficult but when it succeeds, incredibly rewarding. YOU’RE GIVING THE BEST MAN’S SPEECH AT HIS WEDDING. WHAT’S YOUR OPENING LINE? Brown “Matt has been through many, many concepts over the years before finally settling on this one” Melhuish “After 14 years in test market the day of launch has finally arrived!” WHAT DO YOU ARGUE ABOUT? BrownWe never argue, it’s more of a vigorous debate, we listen to each other and respect the other’s opinion. We both firmly believe there’s always a better way. Melhuish That’s bullshit, I can’t believe it! No actually Warren’s right, we don’t argue but we do disagree and are both happy to explore the differences of opinion. Always with mutual respect and in a good natured way. It makes the work better. DESCRIBE A GREAT DAY? Brown Seeing the response from all 150 staff at BMF when we’ve won National Agency of the Year. Melhuish Seeing our people (both our clients and staff) doing really well achieving great things and enjoying the journey. WHERE WOULD YOU GO FOR LUNCH AND WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER? Brown Anywhere that serves soft shell crab, salt and pepper squid and has a view of the harbour. Melhuish I think the site of the annual Campaign Brief Cannes lunch at La Colombe d’Or in St Paul de Vence is pretty hard to beat. It’s outdoors in a walled garden in an impossibly beautiful medieval fortified village. Lunch is mixed crudités, then roast lamb rack with great company and some Pinot Noir - superb! SE PT E MBE R/OCTOB E R 2 007
November December 2007
July August 2007