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 : January February 2008
NE WSM AKER S turned d own se veral major cl ients who we didn’t believe had the disci- pline and courage to get their brand where we wanted it to go. You meet an awful lot o f tire-kickers i n my new se at, but very few clien ts who have a genuinely long- term passion for thei r brand an d t he au tonomy to ba ck the ir in stinc ts a nd t heir agency. VB is obviously one. “In the next coup le of months, I’m looking forward to announcing a couple more. On t he bright si de, the flavour of work that the guys in New York have created means that a lot of c lients a re app roaching us because t hey’ve already ma de the conscious decisio n to go in a new di re ct ion with thei r m arke ting . That means we’v e al ready been given some really ambitious, ecl ec- tic br iefs; including cr eating a new primetime TV sh ow, to designing and licensing a new line of jewellery for one of Australia’s most f amous sporting names. I think a lot of peo- ple will be surprised a t the si ze of brands we’ ve been able to att ract, given ou r s ize. I f I wa s r unning a big, traditional agency right now, i t may be something of a concern!” Speaking of “punching above their weight”, in December ’ 07 Droga5 New York got a nod f rom on e of the tough es t crow ds - Madi son Avenue - with Ad Age’s Creativity magazine naming it A gency of the Year. S hortli sted for th e hon our were Goodb y Si lverstein & Partners, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Wieden & K ennedy, TBWA/Chiat/ Day and Saatchi & Saa tchi, New York: a r oll call of t he ver y be st agencies in the world. It was a huge win, admits Droga, val idating the agency’s a pproach and e arns it a place at the hig h- tabl e, but it al so gave ris e to a heal thy p aranoi a th at the age ncy had peaked too soon. “It ha ppened so fas t, we di dn’t even ha ve long enough to st ress about whe ther we’d win, b ut i t’s brilli ant,” Droga s ays. “A ll o ur clients feel fantastic and it’s already ope nin g a lot of b ig , cor porate doors. Funni ly e nough, I did an interview with J eff Goodby when I first started and he said to me, off- camera, th at i t’s going to be d iffi- cult for me becaus e most peo ple when th ey d o a s tart-up have the grace of four to fi ve yea rs to b uild momentum and to get know n, but from the get-go people were looking at us saying, ‘what are you going t o do? I guess they got their answer”. A se lf-profes sed ‘control-fr eak’, who is l earning to delegate mor e, Droga is aware that Au ssie clients are e xpecting a piece of hi s formi - dable talent. “They’ll get it, but the most im portant thing, and this is why I’m in partnership with Nobby here in Au stralia, i s tha t thi s new offic e is a s tand- alon e. I have incredible confidence the manage - ment team will make us a phenom- enal brand he re . T he V B win proves that. Th at said, as a proud Aussie, t here’s no q uestion I have an enorm ous, a lmost ridi culous amount of interest in what is going to happe n here , pl us i t’s a good 18 CAM PA I GN B RIE F excuse to come home more often.” Droga sti ll recalls th at wh en h e told staff in New York last year he was opening an office in Australi a, the l oud r esponse wa s WHY? “ I said, ‘it’s not a question and it’s not for d ebat e! We ar e open ing in Australia, not only because I t hink it is a great market but because the most important thing is you have to open and build a business a round talent’. Does i t make sense on paper for a start-up t o d o a st art- up? No, but does i t make s ense to build a company around three fan- tastic people who are available and the stars are aligned - absolutely.” W HILE DROGA CLEAR- LY ALWAYS HAD PLANS for a Sydney office in the back of his mi nd, i t was Nobby’s determina- ti on to st ay in Australia that made the plan a reality last year. As Nobby explains: “It’s no secret tha t a ft er we won [Campaig n Brief’s] Agency of the Y ear th ree years in a row, Bob Isherwood and Saatchi’s New York ma nagement were very ope n to me running another major office in the network – specif ically London - an d t hat offer was on the table un til I lef t. But I was e qually insisten t – and consistent - that I di dn’t wan t to leave Sydney. Thi s h as be come more than just my home: it’s where I feel most comfortable and relaxed, and that me ans i t’s wher e I pu sh myself to do my best wor k. Over the last twenty years, I’ve worked in most o f the world’s gre at spots; inclu ding London, H ong K ong, New York, San Francisco. They’re all amazing places , but fo r me , Sydney is where I’m meant to be . By early 2007, Nobby was seriously exploring the idea of startin g his own agency, a vision he shared with Saat chi ’s management, i ncluding Jim O’Mahony, a close p ersonal friend who has just re signed f rom his post as Saatchi & Saatc hi CEO across China, Russia, India, Brazil, Asia , Austral asia an d Lat in Ame rica. It was O’Mahony t hat suggested h e team up wi th Droga. Fittingly, they hatched the plan on Cannes’ Croisette l ast ye ar. Droga remembers it well: “Nobby is a seri- ously tenacious guy and this hap- pened in light years. I was li ke ‘My God, I was talking Aus tralia t hree years from now! But, all jokes aside, that is one of the bri lliant things about Nobby, he’s so f ocused and driven and that is part of the reason why I want to be in business with him. As people can see, he’s a ve ry creative g uy, but more th an th at he’s also a very smart businessman. He hates the rhetoric and wants to get things done in a hurry, whic h is a lot of who I am. I’ve always been in a rush and, rather than wanting to do things in a reas onable t ime- line, I’ve wanted to do t hings a t a pace t hat keeps yo u e ner gised,” says Droga. Nobby adds that it was important to get his exit strategy from Saatchis “This business isn’t as complicated as some would have you think. Doing great work means working with great brands and most importantly, with clients who have real balls. The VB guys have proved to me that they will buy brave work, because their very first decision – hiring us – is a seriously ballsy move. It’s our job to reward their faith with some very special output,” says Nobay. right: “Saatchi’s is a very s pecial pl ace to wor k. It gets in you r blood. I don’t know of any other major network th at embraces cr e- ativity so c losely, and puts the cre- ative people in such a strong man- agement position. People like Jim (O’Mahony) and Bob (Isherwood), still inspi re me a nd I still look to them for advice and guidance. Similarly, Droga is still very close personall y with Isherwo od and, while Publicis doesn’t own shares in Droga5, it owns a major stake in Honeyshed, the joint-venture new digital retail network launched with Droga5 and Smuggler Films in LA. While he’s publ icly shying away from starting up a global network, there’s already g rowing murmur s about a London offic e, followed by somewhere in Asia. “If the opportunity arose where the right people were available in London and it didn’t compromise anything we were doing elsewhere, I would love t o open an office in London, sure. I love the market, it’s amazing, but I could say the same thing about Asia.” My driving motivation i s to do great work and be in business wi th the very best people. That’s it. That’s the strate- gy, philosophy – whatever you want to call it.” Apart from Droga, the partner s with equit y in Droga5 are CEO Andr ew Es sex , ECDs Du ncan Ma rshal l and Ted Royer, CFO Judd Merkel, creative director Ben Not t and now Nobby. Bil ling $US300million, clients already ? J ANU ARY /FE BRU ARY 2 008
AWARD Awards 2007
March April 2008