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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : January February 2010
WHEN DID YOU FIRST MEET? McFarlane We first met over breakfast at the Conti in Greville Street, Prahran. I was ECD of DDB and Tom had just disbanded Dery Whybin Barnes. The chairman of DDB had arranged the tryst in the hope that Tom might come on board as CEO. My first impression of Tom Dery? I had never before met a man who could consume five croissants. My second impression? That he was a consummate salesman. I was certainly sold. Dery The ultimate pragmatist. He really didn't know me, but was positive about moving forward as a partnership. Privately, I was a little concerned, but his optimism did wonders for my confidence. I felt we could really get on and do things together. WHAT STATE WAS M&C SAATCHI IN WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED WORKING TOGETHER? McFarlane In the state of NSW. That's about as nice as I can be. Dery In those first 12 months prior to Tom joining we'd settled in global accounts British Airways and Qantas, but despite a lot of hard work new business was proving elusive. McFarlane When I accepted the job I had never seen the office in Pitt Street. If I had I may not be contributing to this article. It was three flights up. The lift rarely worked. It was dark and furnished with auction room remnants. There were 12 staff (half freelance) if you could find them amid the towers of empty pizza boxes sculpted by Paul Taylor, the agency's first creative hire. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CHANGES YOU HAVE IMPLEMENTED SINCE THEN? Dery Better furniture. Much nicer offices. And 248 more people. McFarlane Yet, remarkably the culture hasn't changed. Dery It's still a madhouse. McFarlane Still 'work hard play hard'. Dery But it's not for everyone. Those who love it stay for years, those who don't, know, and go very quickly. WHAT KIND OF YEAR WAS 2009 FOR THE AGENCY? WHAT IMPACT HAS THE GFC HAD? Dery Against all the odds 2009 has been a good year. Nearly $5m growth from new business starting with Mitre 10 in January, Freedom in February, followed by E-Trade, Betfair and others. More tellingly, there was over $4m growth from existing clients. All with just one loss. What else? Well we started two new businesses -- Re- a corporate brand and design company and M&C Saatchi Sports & Entertainment. Both have had a flying start. McFarlane We moved into our new building which is not only beautiful, but being primarily one space, integration is now total. On the creative front we did some of the most popular TVCs in Australia -- 'Whale Song' for Optus, 'Chase' for ANZ, 'Maria & Stavros' for Woolworths. A yellow pencil was picked up at D&AD, more finalists than any other agency again at ADMA along with a couple or inaugural Effies. Dery And we ended with 33 more staff than when 2009 began. DESCRIBE YOUR TIME WORKING TOGETHER. WHAT MAKES THE PARTNERSHIP WORK? McFarlane Working together? After 17 years it's by osmosis. Dery The partnership is based on trust. McFarlane I've never had my creative judgement questioned by Tom. In fact if he ever offers an opinion, I've sought it. By the way his judgement is very good. M&C SAATCHI'S REGIONAL CREATIVE DIRECTOR ASIA AND THE US, Tom McFarlane, and Tom Dery, the global chairman, have worked together for the past 17 years. When McFarlane joined the agency was three floors up in a dark room with piles of pizza boxes and 12 staff. They went on to create the fastest growing start-up agency in Australian history. They've also spearheaded the agency's growth in Asia, presiding over the launch of five offices regionally and have been promoted to global roles at M&C Saatchi for their troubles. They spill the beans on their working relationship to CB. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE WORK PRODUCED IN YOUR TIME WORKING TOGETHER? McFarlane Probably 100% Pure New Zealand. Tom pursued the business relentlessly. In fact there is maybe no greater example of his doggedness and indefatigable optimism! Dery The work was a great team effort by our people and is still running and still revered, now 10 years on. WHAT DO YOU ARGUE ABOUT? Dery Football. Football. And football. McFarlane People. Tom would say I hate everyone I meet ... at first. I'd say he's a little too expansive in his love of the new ... people included. DESCRIBE A GREAT DAY? McFarlane It's always a Saturday, usually in June, with families in tow we schlep out to Homebush to watch Collingwood vs. Sydney. The 'pies' always win. Dery The Monday after the game is a great day for me because it's perhaps the one day of the year that he's not whingeing. WHERE WOULD GO FOR LUNCH AND WHAT WOULD YOU ORDER? McFarlane Tom would go where I suggest and then complain about it. I would go somewhere Grant Booker suggested. Dery We both like Spice Temple at the moment. McFarlane Tom would order four courses -- one main and three desserts. I'd have a main only. Dery But he'd drink more. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE OF WORKING TOGETHER? Dery A presentation to the then Tourism Minister, Fran Bailey, at 8am the morning after our 10th birthday party. McFarlane Where the bloody hell were we until 5am? Dery Winning agency of the year so many times. IS TOM MAC ONE OF THOSE ECCENTRIC CREATIVE TYPES? IS TOM D ONE OF THOSE BUTTONED UP SUITS? Dery Tom Mac is more your angry creative type. McFarlane Tom D hasn't been able to button up his suit for years. WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU'VE FACED TOGETHER AT M&C SAATCHI? Dery Growing. You don't really notice it is happening. Suddenly there's 60 people. Then 160. Another hundred. It's a lot of lives. A lot of responsibility. McFarlane But you desperately don't want the culture to change ... you still want to have fun. And still know everyone. I think we've done a pretty good job of that. HOW WOULD YOUR RECEPTIONIST DESCRIBE YOU? McFarlane After 13 years with us Paige can speak for herself. Paige Jones: "Inspiring, friends, mentors, fair and more like family to me than bosses. Oh and I forgot to mention they both still 'out party' me at the Christmas Party -- sad but true!" Dery Oh Paigey -- you're too nice. WHAT'S THE MAGICAL HOLD OF M&C SAATCHI ON YOU BOTH? McFarlane It's like having another child. It gives us both great joy, surprises more than it disappoints and we've both taken great pride in watching it grow up. McFARLANE
May June 2010