Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne crowned CB Agency of the Year; M&C Saatchi named NSW Agency of the Year; Colenso BBDO wins NZ title


CB-COVER-AGENCY-OF-THE-YEAR-2015.jpgIt is a period of uncertainty. Fierce territorial battles rage across the galaxy. As the sands shift beneath our feet and the fate of many seems unclear, one force reigns supreme. But beneath the dark armoured    exterior of the so-called ‘Evil Empire’, there is a nobler cause: to fight mediocrity and restore creativity to the advertising galaxy. For a record seventh time in the 28-year history of the awards, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne is Campaign Brief’s Agency of the Year.

From an uncertain finish to 2013 – the creative department was about to lose Tom Martin and Julian Schrieber, soon to be followed by Jim Ingram and Ben Couzens – Clemenger BBDO Melbourne managed to turn 2014 into an absolutely stellar year.

The agency has just had its strongest financial year in its 68 year history, with profit growth of 18% and $62 million in new work. Staff numbers grew by 23%. It won two of the biggest pitches in the country, Myer and TAC, as well as MLC, Australia Post StarTrack, Kopparberg, Bonds, The Department of Education and State Government business.

CLEMS-AOY-2015-1.jpgCLEMS-AOY-2015-2.jpgNew blood in the creative department and a strong core team ensured the agency’s lofty standards were maintained. During 2014, Evan Roberts, Stephen De Wolf, Russel Fox and Hilary Badger all returned to Clemenger after stints at other agencies. Retail superstar Carolyn Mackintosh is the new creative director on Myer and Dave Klein, Alex Derwin, Jim Robbins, Richard Shaw, James O’Sullivan, Adam Barnes and Anna Stickley round out the beefed up creative department. All the new business has also meant appointing three new group account directors, Adam Kennedy, Naomi Gorringe and Claire Tenzer, all with strong creative-focused track records.

Groundbreaking work on Drink Wise; the most engaged campaign in Snickers’ global history; putting fans’ names literally in the game for VB’s NRL sponsorship and creating a diorama with live retirees for MLC are just a few of the campaigns which demonstrated Clems has lost none of its power.

A slew of domestic and international awards, both for creativity and effectiveness, followed.

While it may have appeared a tough 2014 for many agencies, Australia’s biggest agency had its best year ever. Both in terms of new business success (without losing any clients) and cutting-edge work – some of it well beyond the normal scope of an ‘ad agency’. At the same time having a lot of fun along the way. M&C Saatchi Sydney is Campaign Brief NSW Agency of the Year.

M&C Saatchi executive creative director Ben Welsh points to various factors that differentiates M&C Saatchi from many others: ”We believe creative agency of the year is not just about the work. It’s about a fundamental belief in creativity. And we are creative to our core. It permeates through every department; flows through every person.

“We’ve invested heavily in training programs to help drive innovation, partnering with no less than Hyper Island. The 3-day workshop challenged us. But ultimately, transformed us for the better. We’ve built our very own Lab to develop technology to change the world. Our work has impressed award juries and commentators across the globe. Our creative fire-power has been the secret to our unprecedented commercial success.

“And we’ve hired some seriously talented people to help take us even further. We create things that get talked about; that challenge the status quo and deliver results.” The agency added more than 80 new staff over the last 12 months, including some impressive senior hires who joined from some of the best agencies around Australia and around the world.

M&C Saatchi spent the first half of the year winning new business and the second half making stuff. That means a lot of its work has yet to be judged. But so far the results are promising, including the Innovation Grand Prix for Optus ‘Clever Buoy’ at Spikes Asia. The campaign also scored the Grand Prix and Gold at the WARC Prize for Innovation, won Gold and Bronze at LIA Awards, Gold at IAB MIXX, two Gold Awards at Kinsale Sharks and two Silver at the W3 Awards. Also at W3 Quit ‘Every 6 seconds’ won Gold and Silver.

COLENSO-AOY-2015.jpgCOLENSO-AOY-2015-2.jpgCOLENSO-AOY-2015-3.jpgOne New Zealand agency had an enormously successful 2014, with work across a wide spectrum of clients awarded both for creativity and effectiveness. For a record seventh time in the 17-year history of the awards Colenso BBDO, Auckland is Campaign Brief NZ Agency of the Year.

2014 was a brilliant year for Colenso BBDO New Zealand, which once again walked away with top honours from a number of the world’s leading advertising shows, both for creativity and effectiveness.

Highlights of the year for Colenso BBDO’s chief creative officer Nick Worthington include being named Asia’s most Effective agency is the proof that creativity works: ”9 out of 10 of our most creatively awarded campaigns went on to win Effies. Being the only agency in the world to win multiple awards at the regional Facebook awards was astounding. We’re a little agency from NZ who have ambitions to be one of the best agencies in the world, but to actually be up there with the best makes us very proud.

“I’m also proud of the continued strength of our team, the new team members and our ability to keep evolving as the industry changes.” 

But for CEO Nick Garrett, the year was also about bedding in new clients gained the year before and staffing up appropriately: “We entered the year off the back of a great run of new business success and organic growth over about 18 months,” says Garrett.

“We had won 10 out of 11 pitch wins and new business initiatives. The volume of work we were doing with our largest clients was increasing significantly and the agency had nearly doubled in size, which is great. However deep down we knew we had to be careful in 2014, we had a lot of new clients that we needed to bed down, a brilliant existing client base who have high expectations of us and we didn’t want to let them down by spreading ourselves too thin, and then of course there is the small matter of hiring, training and introducing dozens of new staff. Beyond producing great creative product that works, 2014 had to be about ‘closing the back door’ by ensuring we maintained the high levels of love and trust with our existing and new clients and I am delighted to say we achieved that.”

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