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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : May June 2007
I S SUE S ing in a global marketplace, wh ich conversely may result in more inter- national work coming to Australia. “Cl ient s wi ll l ook fo r th e b est ideas and if they f eel they h ave to go off shor e to get the m I ’m s ure they will. That for us in Australia is a huge advantage in the m edium- to-long term because the best ideas people in the world will be able to live i n t he best country an d st ill wor k on t he be st briefs in the world,” he says. “As time goes o n and that world is created even more tightly we might be in this inc redi- ble, wonderful place where it will be normal to live and work in Australia and work on internat ional brand s and all this is an exa mple o f it working the other wa y ar ound,” Howcroft says. It also me ans we po tentially lo se accounts: “You can’t have it b oth ways, for me it’s just indicative of a big exciting thing th at’s going on, obviously it’s not so great for STW but from a mac ro per spective I think i t’s really another example of a flat world we now live in.” But it’s a bank that sell s itsel f on being such a proudl y A ust ralian bank? CB insists on behal f of d is- gruntled ad execs everywhere. “Agai n, i t’s a g lobal wor ld. Personally I think parochialism and nationalism are pretty old ide as. A bit o f competitive pr essure on t he quality of ideas - that’s not going to do us any harm is it?” Warren Brown, ECD of in depen- dent A us trali an ag ency B MF Sydney, says Comm Bank has a his- tory of trying - and fai ling - t o do something different that works. “They have fired their own agency and c reated 360, wh ich de spite its best intentions didn’t survive ve ry long, the y’ve tr ied a village appro ach wi th Singo’s and t hat hasn’t l asted very lo ng eit her and now t hey a re trying to see what their chances are overs eas. They keep trying things but they haven’t managed to make anything work for any length of time as yet,” he says. Brown says th is be haviour in di- cates the bank fel l out of love with traditional a dvertising agencies a long t ime ago. “I don’t think th eir desir e to do someth ing like th is overseas venture is something they have recently thought of, the y have been f rustra ted or felt the Australian advertising industry was underdeveloped for them for s ome time, otherwise they wouldn’t have tried bringing it in hous e and then trying the v illa ge thing and no w going overseas. So, the di ssatisfac- tion has been t here for some time and this is the l atest manif estation of their des ire to crack the code of what’s right for them,” Brown says. Having said that, he thinks there’s enough t alent in Australia, that i f they h ad spen t the time l ook ing ar oun d the y m igh t have foun d something eq ual to any thing the y can g et around the worl d here at home. BMF ha s never h ad a con- versation with the bank about work- ing on its account. “It se ems to m e t he market ing directors of the Comm Ban k ar e 22 CA MPA I GN B RIEF Sogard (above) has no concerns about working across different time zones. “Even with clients here in the US work has become such a 24/7 thing. Do you ever shut your blackberry off? You are probably getting calls, and emails around the clock and that’s just a fact of life these days so at least with Australia there are three or four hours every day where the work day overlaps.” very keen on making a n ame f or themselves by doing something dif- fere nt, I applaud th at a nd w ish them all the best, b ut s ometimes you c an be in such a hu rry t o get somewhere you c an ove rlook a great oppo rtunit y th at is s itt ing right under your nose,” he says. Brown doesn’t think it will spark a mass exodus, saying a lot of c lients will probably look at it and consider it to be a brave move, but based on his e xperience working wi th over - seas directors it is more challenging working with people oversea s, irre - spective of how good they are, than it is with local talent you can work with on a day-to-day basis. “A lot of people will be watching with interest. I don’t think there’s going to be a march of c lients to Goodby’s, irrespective of how well it does. I think people will th ink, good on them for be ing brave, i t’s not normally one person’s decision, you’ve usually got to have the sup- port of the rest of the company to do something like that, so how they make it work is something w e’ ll watch with interest, ” says Brown. Sean Cummins, CEO /c reat ive director at Cummins & Partners, concurs that there won’t be a mass exodus of clients going to overseas agencies. Instead, Goodby will need local people on the g round w ho know the mores, the traditions and rhyt hms of Au stral ian cu lture. Cummins thinks it’s a good idea, saying l ocal advertising agencies only hav e themselve s to blame because the pervasive attitude is all banks are b astards, something the bank would have heard over and over again. “Certainly some clients will try to shift their accounts, but the proof will be in how much a fresh pair of eyes works on a mori- bund categor y and that ’s really what I think it’s al l abou t. Seriously, i f you were a client and you went from agency to agency and every smart-arse s trategy plan- ner got up, adjusted his tie and said, ‘no-one likes banks’, after a whi le y ou’ d get pret ty fed up,” Cummins says . “Thi s is a great wake-up call for us to start breaking out and thinking differently, think- ing p osi tively and optimistically rather than taking on the burden of prevaili ng feelings or wi sdom. If there are categories that are just not expanding and they are doing all the s ame stuff there may be more people busting out but I don’t think it will spark an exodus of a ny large proportion.” By going to Goodby the y were also chasing greater digital integra- tion, something Australian agencies are yet to prove they have, says Cummins: “Everyone is attaching digital aspects to the ir business but Goodby has gone the next step and made it par t of ever yone’s lives, something Cummins and Partners is doing as well. I feel excited by the fact that a lot of Australian agencies are being shown up a little bit, I think that’s good, it’s healthy for the i ndustry and gives us a good wak e-up cal l. I don’t think the client wanted to punish the agen- cies, I think it was out of frustration and t hat shouldn’t be the case. I wished they’d called, mind you.” Cummins thinks if a c lient start thinking great, I can go work with Goodby, des pite the number of agencies in Australia, particularly in Sydney, then it’s time agencies starting standing for something dif- ferent. He thinks too many of the age nc ie s in Sydne y are simila r, something he’ll capitalise on by opening up here within six months. “At the end of the day, people want difference, and if anything the Sydney market needs to wake up and start offering something a little bit different because they are all clumped in the same area.” Anthony Free dman, man aging partner of Host, Sydney thinks the sentime nt the bank’s deci sion is somehow a reflection of the sorry state of the local industry is either an overl y sensiti ve response or a reac tion ant agonists within the industry are trying to provoke. “I don’t feel slighted, I f eel quite confident in the quality of our out- put and I can’t imagine anyone else who feels they’ve got a good cre- ative reputation and a ‘world-class’ reput ation wouldn’t feel any less sure of that as a consequence of one client looking for an agency outside of the Australian marketplace.” MAY/J UNE 2 007
July August 2007