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 : March April 2008
NE WSM AKER Todd Sampson: The planner turned CEO with big plans for Leo Burnett Todd Sampson is Australia’s only CEO with a planning background, which might just be a potent combination when mixed with the likes of Benjamin and DiLallo. CB pays Sampson a visit. Benjamin Sampson and DiLallo - their goal is to make Leo Burnett Sydney best agency in the world ASA PASSIONATEMOUNTAIN CLIMBER, Todd S ampson, 3 8, who w as pro- mot ed to C EO of Leo Burnet t Sydney in January this year, is used to pushing himself to the limits. On May 23, 2001, after r oughly two months on the mountain, eight trips through the i ce fall, ove r a doze n snowstorms, two attem pts on the summit, snow blindness, near star- vation, f alling into a crevass e, four avalanches, witnessing three deaths, and l osin g 1 5kg, h e mana ged t o complete a solo climb to the top of Mount Everest. “This has had no impact on my advertising career other t han ma k- ing p eople th ink befo re they say, ‘it’s not as hard as climbing Mount Everest’,” he says. Two we eks earlier, Samp son wa s on a b usiness trip to New Zea land when, on a whim, he looked up his hero, S ir Edmund Hilla ry, in th e phone book and called him. He was invited around for tea and biscuits. This is the sort of gumptio n th e former head of strategy is going to put t o th e t es t, d aily, as Leo Burnett S ydne y ushers i n a n ew management team with new cre - ative leaders, a new CEO [Sampson replaced Tim Castre e ea rlier this year] an d a new planning director in Scott Davis, ex BMF. Sampson’s remit is simple: take the creative up a not ch so it’s the most awar ded agency in the c ountry, while main- taining the agency’s reputation as a great place to work and keeping up the pro fit lev els so they ar e lef t alone to run the show. 32 CAM PA I GN B RIE F While Australian agencies usually shy away from hiring a team for the top creative jo b, a s Sampson ha s just done, he sees it a s g etting a n ECD, deputy creati ve d irector, a head-of-art an d a head- of-copy in one hire. “Jay and Andy have wor ked together for twelve year s, they a re one. I would be very hesitant in hir- ing a creative director team that was off a nd on and didn’t really wor k together that l ong, but the y o nly know each other as a partnership,” says Sampson. He chose them because he consid- ers t hem the best cr eat ives in Australia and the ones who nailed the brief for the job. This took into account cultural fit; po ssessing the energy and enthusiasm to li ft the bar higher; and creatives who we re schooled in automatically consider- ing multiple channels. “It’s going to be i nterestin g for And y and Jay bec aus e go ing t o JWT they went to an ag ency th at wasn’t known for its creativity, and now t hey are coming t o Leo Burnett, which is known for its cre- ativity, so there is a high bar. If, at the end of the year, we are not the most awarded agency in Australia, I will be amazed,” he says. The work Sampson is proudest of over the past year is WWF’s Earth Hour, McDonald’s ‘Name t hat Burger’ and Canon Photo 5, a DM piece aimed at professional photog- raphers. As well as the above, the agency has been recognised in the internat ional awar d shows for Bundabe rg R um’s ‘Only in Austral ia’, W esley M ission ’s ‘Homeless Man’, McDonald’s ‘See Things’ and P&G Tide. It’s rare for a strategic director to become CEO, but Sampson started his advert ising career as a cop y- writer at a C ape Town ag ency called The Whi te House ( which later became DDB). He’d briefly worked in investment banking in his native Ca nada, but hated it. His escap e route ca me through a Rotary S cholarship f or postgraduate studies outside of the USA and Canada. He mo ved to Cap e Town a nd enro ll ed in a n MBA. When a creative di rector from Ogilvy & Mather t urned up late and hung- over to deliver a guest lecture, Sampson was sold on a career in advertising, abandoning his plans to join McKinsey’s. He quickly switched to t he strate- gy side. “A creative person with an MBA is rare, so combine those two things and you get something really inter- esting, which some w ould call a st rategist . That c ombina tio n o f business acumen an d cr eat ive understanding has been my ca lling card for the pas t twelve years. I’m equally comfortable with the opera- tional management of r unning a business as I am with my ideas gen- eration,” he says. He stayed five years, but a news - paper a rticle about sev en p eople being kil led with a hat chet just twenty minutes fro m his hous e made him re-think his p rioritie s, especially since he’d been travelling a lot to climb mountains, leaving his family at home. “I loved Cape Town and would live there forever if it wasn’t s o insan el y vi olen t. I went ther e because I wanted to live in a revolu- tion, and living through the transi- tion from white, dominant, racist, oppressive society to a black gov- ernment was just amazing.” This was in 1999, and he started interviewing in Australia. The best ag ency at the time was T he Campaign Palace, but when they didn’ t retur n the love, Sampson showed u p at the agency, unan- nounced. He eventually got in to see agency head Reg Bryson, also a strategic planner, and after a two- hour conversa tion was offered a job. After a couple of years he join ed Chr is Cl ar ke at P ure Cr eat ive, whi ch mor phed into D’Arcy. I t was here that Sampson first worked with CEO Nigel Marsh and CD Mark Col lis and things were going well until news came through overn ight that global ly, D’Arcy was closing. Sampson took the clients and some staff to Leo Burnett, Marsh went on gardening leave and Coll is went to George Patterson, but the three of them eventually teamed up again at Leo Burnett to revitalize the agency. It’s no secret Marsh was grooming Sampson to take over the agency, but when Marsh stepped back to a par t-t ime r ol e as chai rman , Samps on d idn’t wan t t he j ob because he had a new-born baby and Castree came across after leav- ing Patts. “I woke up one day and walked into the front door of the agency and I thought, ‘OK, now’ s the time’,” says Sampson on changing his mind. Sampson came to Australia when demand for pl anners was explod- ing. He says the new ‘it’ job is digi- tal: “You know you need somebody but you don’t know what it is, so you’ll pay a premium for it.” He admits there are some charla- tans claiming to be strategic plan- ners when they don’t have the skill- set. Sampson beli ev es st rategi c planners are born that way – they are n aturally intuitive, inquisitive, people, who are always asking why and are restless with the status quo. He can see why people in other dis- ciples are switching over: there’s high demand for planners, you are paid a high salar y, and you are never going to be unemployed - unless you are really bad. MARCH /AP RIL 200 8
January February 2008
May June 2008