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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : January February 2008
NE WSM AKER S br and is goi ng t o c onnec t wit h them, but adds that there are some very b ig glo bal brands talkin g to Droga in New York right now, who have as much interest in Au stralia and A sia as they have in Europe and America. “One of the obvious advantages of Droga5 Sydney is our proximity to Asia. I work ed for years in As ia, Sudeep launched BBH in Japan, so we hav e plenty of personal k nowl- edge about that market and the re’s no r eason why between New York and Sydney we can’t connect with some great business in there,” says Nobby. As for staffing up, the type of tal- ent Droga is acti vely looking for is people wh o want to try an d h elp pull the industry forward. “Most people are mo re comf ort- able going into something tried and tested, but i t’s ha ving t he c onf i- dence t o want to test your self. At the same time, I want to work with people who I rea lly like, who make me la ugh. That’s not why I’l l gi ve them a job, but I don’t have ti me for pricks, or prima-donnas or peo- ple who t ake themselves too ser i- ously, p ar ticula rly in a st art- up where we ’re much more in timate. People here feel like they are part of a creative collective,” Droga says. While it ’s currently trendy to hire people outs ide of adver tising , Nobby ’s solu tion to the conver - gence of b randing and e ntertain- ment is “ D5Circle”; an all iance of half a dozen companies and individ- uals alread y pre-eminent in their specific wo rlds of mu sic, architec- tur e, med ia, entertain men t an d gaming. At le ast half of them will also have desk space in the new Droga5 office. Part o f that c ircle will be f ormer A&R ex ecutive at Wa rner Music Matt O’Connor, who launched his own co mpany The A&R Depar t- ment, working with bands including Thi rsty Merc and The Beautiful Girls ; f ormer editorial direc tor o f Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Dolly, Mia Freedman, who spent the la st y ear at Nine as creative services director launching the ill-fated chat sh ow The Ca tch Up; and TV pr oducer Paul Me lvi ll e, found er of X YZ Network and most recently produc- er of Dancing with the Stars, who is already work ing wi th D5 on t wo TV pr ojects. A s Nobby explain s, D5C ircl e all ows th e agen cy t o expand i ts expertise without phy si- cally becomin g enormous and l ay- ered: “It goes back to what D avid and I are saying about focusin g on simply wor king alongside th e v ery best people: it stands to reason that the bes t people in mus ic an d TV have their own distinct brands and aren’t interested in working for an ad agency. But, those same people are very open to working alongside people lik e us, who aren ’t intimi- dated or insecure about opening up the briefs and letting them i n with- out pr escribing their inpu t”. Like sev eral of D 5 Aust ralia ’s ear ly ideas , t his one has already b een quickly grasped by thei r New York brothers, who a re alrea dy putt ing 22 CAM PA I GN B RIE F together their own D5Circle – start- ing with one of their mo st re cent clients, the actress a nd film-maker Cameron Diaz. While Nobby can’t think be yond surviving this crucial fir st year, the feeling between the three founding partners is that if they get the model right here i n A ustralia , i t s hould naturally expand and develop with them: “If this becomes the compa- ny that Su deep, David, Ma rianne and I want it to become then none of us should personally outgrow the company. “For instance: in five years time I migh t be moving in to d irecting, whic h is some thin g I’ve al ways wanted to do when I get some other stuff out of the way. But there’s no reason why that means me l eaving Droga5. I think that’s the esse nce of a great creative company, t hat the structure is loose enough that it actually moves around the c reative people in it.” is having a hundred pe ople, t hen he’d rather go with that. “We don’t want to grow the tradi- D tional way: just taking on bod ies. For us, i t’s all about al liances and partnerships, which is what we d o in New York. We are fifty people in there now, but if we went the tradi- tional route we would be at l east one hundre d and fifty by now,” Droga says. “On the o ther h and, Nobby and I don’t wa nt to build some nic he bout ique he re - we want to prove that creat ive peopl e can build a l egitimate, in fluential, inspiring, business. If that me ans building a larger business there’s no question your influence can go fur- the r a nd you c an have great er impact, as long as that impact is for good, because there a re way t oo many billion dollar companies who do it for the wrong reasons and pol- lute our industry.” Using the agency’s c reativity f or social issues is part o f t he ag enda Droga set, but he’s wary of appear- ing to be holier than tho u, sa ying the Tap Project has done more t o unify the agency than anything else. “Everyone internally i s so prou d of it - when they sit with their fami- lies and talk about it, there’s a cer- tain weight to it, and for me that’s the kind of work I want to be con- nected to for the rest of my career. I want to walk into a bar in Lisbon in twenty y ears and hav e the wait er say ‘that’s one euro for tap water’,” says Droga. This year’s equivalent to the Tap Project is Million, for the New York Department of Education, an ambi- tiou s project to p ut o ne mil lion mobile phones into New Yo rk ci ty school s as a n i ncent ive for k ids ba sed on th ei r cont ribu tion at school, starting with f ree t ext t ime just for turning up. I t’s b eing tr i- ROGA CAN’T PREDICT HOW BIG THE SYDNEY operation wil l be in a year - saying i f it’ s a be tte r c ompany for ha ving t en people doing great work and making money than i t Says Nobay: “In the next couple of months, I’m looking forward to announcing a couple more clients. On the bright side, the flavour of work that the guys in New York have created means that a lot of clients are approaching us because they’ve already made the conscious decision to go in a new direction with their marketing. That means we’ve already been given some really ambitious, eclectic briefs; including creating a new primetime TV show, to designing and licensing a new line of jewellery for one of Australia’s most famous sporting names. I think a lot of people will be surprised at the size of brands we’ve been able to attract, given our size. If I was running a big, traditional agency right now, it may be something of a concern!” alled in January among 20,000 kids and if it works in NYC it will even- tually be rolled out across the US to the 40-50 million school kids, mak- ing it the biggest content network in America. During school hours the phones become a personal comput- er and once it is rolled out, adver- tising campaigns will be run on the phones. Critics have dismissed it as bribery, but Droga i sn’t perturbed by the controversy saying rewarding kids is an everyday reality for most parents. While Droga loves living in New York, being Australian is his ‘get out of jail free’ and his plan is to return home one day. “It is non-negotiable, I will come back to Australia. Will I come back he re and live ful l-time? I don’t know, but I am Australian and I’m enjoying the privilege of working in New Yor k. T he re’s s ome ver y bright people there and the ripples from New York go a long way. But everyone in our New York office knows we are an Australian compa- ny,” he says, adding it’s the best job he’s ever had. “I had to do all those other jobs to have the confidence to do this. This is a job I can’t run away from, I always set out to do as much as I could in my other jobs to make a difference and I got bored rea lly quick ly. I can’t run away from my job now.” The world’s brands’, the hungry, the kids of New York and now Australian marketers have got to be happy with that.7 J ANU ARY /FE BRU ARY 2 008
AWARD Awards 2007
March April 2008