by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
button in toolbar for more information.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Please subscribe by clicking on the link to receive
Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : July August 2007
UP FRONT TE AMW OR K BELGIOVANEWILL ELEVEN YEARS AGO A CREATIVE, ROB BELGIOVANE JOINED A SUIT, Paul Wil liams and a planner J amie Ma ckay to form a new agen cy ca lled Belgiovane Williams Mackay. It has since grown to employ 108 staff and works for clients including BigPond, Guinness, GIO, LG Electronics, Citroen, Alfa Romeo and Virgin Money. Last year the partners sold 51% of the agency to P hoton for an es timated $13m - but the day-to-day running of the agency is still firmly in their hands. There have been plenty of heated arguments between the partners over the past decade, but there have been just as many long lunch- es at Otto celebrating their wins. Campaign Brief spills the beans on their working relationship. WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET? Belgiovane I met Paul in the early 80's at some wild party at a house Paul was renting with a ‘gaggle’ of ad types and I met Jamie presenting content ideas for Coke when I had Globe and Jamie actually understood what we were on about. Williams Jamie and I owned a beach house at Palm Beach - we thought that if we could pull that off, an agency would be easy! I first met Rob partner- ing in an industry debate against Lex Marinos and Tracey Holmes. They kicked our butt so we could only go up from there. Mackay In 1988 - we were all at the same table at Dave Rollins’s wedding. Love at first sight! HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED AT THE AGENCY SINCE THE PHOTON DEAL? Belgiovane A broader perspective from new board directors who benefit from not being involved in the day- to-day running of the business. Fresh professional thinking. Williams Firstly it hasn’t been acquired by Photon - we’ve sold 51% and retain the remaining shares, and management control. Day-to-day, it hasn’t changed one bit other than occasionally being able to draw from their 29 company resources and network. They’re supportive and are there when we might need them. Mackay On a day-to-day basis not at all, except our finance department now have to report our results monthly which puts a bit of extra pressure on them. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WORK PRODUCED SINCE YOU STARTED? Belgiovane ‘Great Wall of China’ for BigPond. Very Australian and yet any- one from anywhere can relate to the universal truth of making sure your kids are given the best chance through education. Williams Telstra BigPond has to be up there - great work - and it isn’t easy creating Australia’s favourite commercial. Mackay BigPond’s ‘Father & Son’ - because it’s challenged the category and Telstra conventions and has become an iconic piece of Australian culture. It’s also won creative and planning awards, and delivered kick-ass results for our client. HOW DO YOU APPROACH A PROBLEM? Belgiovane Analytically. A shit hot planner (Jamie) and a shit hot suit (Paul) who’s also a great strategist make for lively interaction. Amazingly, three perspectives often lead to one clear solution. Williams If it’s a problem that the management board can’t deal with, we usually debate it fiercely between the three of us - and usually with our dif- ferent approaches to cracking a nut a balanced answer pops out. Mackay Talk, talk, talk, make a decision, talk, talk, talk, step away from it, talk, make a decision. YOU’RE GIVING THE BEST MAN’S SPEECH AT HIS WEDDING. WHAT’S YOUR OPENING LINE? Belgiovane For Paul: “Mario (his nick name at Camp Cove beach, where he lives) likes to tan in a g-string…” For Jamie: “Jamie has a real ‘nose for picking’ beautiful, intelligent women.” Williams For Rob: “Introducing the man who overcame all odds” For Jamie: “I’d like to talk about Jamie’s best quality first - his wife”. In fact I think I did use that! Mackay For Paul: To say “Paul Williams loves a tan” would be a gross understatement. For Rob: To say “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…that’s amore”. 38 CAM PA I GN B RIE F WHAT DO YOU ARGUE ABOUT? BelgiovaneWe used to argue about everything and eventually arrive at the same place. Now we tend to arrive at a similar place without arguing. Williams Huh? Belgiovane argue? You’re dreaming! Mackay Holidays, Cannes, consultants, punctuality, office fit out, creden- tials, the Christmas card, our website. DESCRIBE A GREAT DAY Belgiovane The day we won Freedom Furniture and Alfa, Citroen (Ateco) while Paul and Jamie were on holiday. Their disbelief was very exciting. Williams In the morning we present a brilliant fully integrated idea and in the afternoon we do a humming pitch…then we go to the pub to recover! Mackay Early morning surf, big pitch executed to perfection, followed by celebratory team lunch, home in time to read Fox in Socks. WHERE WOULD YOU GO FOR LUNCH AND WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER? Belgiovane Most often Otto. Oysters, pasta - we have very similar tastes in food. If it’s business, one hour, if it’s to celebrate a win, all afternoon. Williams Normal days, can’t be bothered. But on a free Friday it’s hard to beat a sunny arvo at Otto celebrating with a team or client. Mackay Golden Century (three hours) scallops steamed with ginger and shallots, salt and pepper prawns, chilli mud crab, fried rice, two x TsingTau and two x Haughton’s White Burgundy. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE OF WORKING TOGETHER? BelgiovaneWinning BigPond and the day we sold 51% to Photon. Both events confirmed that you can have a great time and build something of enormous value. Williams There are many - and Rob and Jamie are larger that life characters. I still remember our first partner offsite alignment session agreeing that our first goal was to get to $3m revenue and 20 people - it seemed impossible. Mackay Driving with Belgio to our first presentation to Ateco in a brand new Citroen on loan from the client and crashing it. WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE FACED BUILDING BWM? Belgiovane Introducing processes and systems to manage the fast growth we experienced. Going from 12 to 108 people successfully hasn’t been easy. WilliamsWe started the agency 11 years ago founded on the concept of the central strategic hub, structured to deliver seamless idea centric multi-chan- nel solutions. In many ways it was ahead of its time. The biggest challenge was to find clients and processes that would genuinely deliver on that. Mackay Hiring talented people and resisting doing their job for them. WHAT DO YOU MOST ADMIRE ABOUT EACH OTHER? Belgiovane Paul is very smart financially and a brilliant advertising strategist which is a very rare combo, while Jamie is a great people person and great strategist. Williams Jamie is a great relationship guy, so people really enjoy listening to his ideas, which are often very good and Rob is a great conceptualiser and salesman of concept, one of the best. Mackay Energy, determination, chutzpah, sense of the ridiculous HOW WOULD YOUR RECEPTIONIST DESCRIBE HIM? Belgiovane She’d describe Paul as very handsome and charming and Jamie as very charming and handsome. Williams Rob: “Anyone know where Rob is?” Jamie: Approachable bloke who likes a laugh. Mackay Rob: gay. Paul: gay. JU L Y /AU GUST 2007
September October 2007
May June 2007