Behind the doors of… Clemenger BBDO Sydney

Behind the doors of… Clemenger BBDO Sydney
SHARE
THIS



The moment the elevators go ‘ding’ and you step into Clemenger BBDO Sydney’s foyer, you know this is an agency with a bounce in its step.

“As a group we had the best year we’ve ever had. Which, in light of the doom and gloom that other people talk about, is significant,” says CEO Andy Pontin.

While he doesn’t want to break down the exact numbers, Pontin says: “What I can say is that Clemenger Sydney was a big part of the Clemenger Group having a great year.”

From the sunny receptionist to the buzz you can hear from the kitchen as the staff gather for their weekly delivery of burgers, courtesy of client Hungry Jacks, and the boisterous enthusiasm of the agency’s four key leaders, the impression is that all the cogs in the 160-strong agency are oiled and moving as one.

“We feel like we are riding the crest of a wave at the moment, where it’s all just coming together,” enthuses executive creative director Paul Nagy.

And the glue that is holding it all together is a culture which Nagy says has been built from the ground up over the past two-and-a-half years.

The culture

“An utter disaster,” is how he jokingly describes the agency before quickly getting serious: “That’s probably not the best start,” Nagy laughs. “Look, I think the culture is one of the greatest strengths of the agency at the moment.”

The rapport Nagy, Pontin, managing partner Gareth Collins and executive planning director (or agency leviathan, as he requests to be described) Al Crawford share that forms the backbone of the agency.

 “We’ve recognised that when we do work together, and all the teams work together like that, we produce our best work,” says Pontin.

“All agencies talk about how important their people are, but more important than the individuals are the combinations of individuals.”  The result, he adds, is an agency that is “relentlessly anti-elitist, relentlessly collegiate and collaborative”.

The St Leonard’s office has recently undergone a redesign to facilitate and reflect that philosophy, with more common spaces, communal tables and divisions removed.

“It’s nice and open and it comes from a belief that if we get the right people on any project, we know we can produce something amazing,” says Collins. “It’s changed not only the environment, but also the way we work.”

It is not hard to imagine that the agency’s culture or staff morale may have taken a bit of a hit during the two small rounds of redundancies that were made last year. The cuts came after clients pulled in their budgets and were unavoidable, explains Pontin: “Unfortunately it’s a reality of the advertising industry, the only place you can cut in a professional services industry is your biggest cost, which is your people.”

But the economies have turned around and when B&T visited, the agency was getting ready to welcome new creative duo Ian Broekhuizen and Malcolm Caldwell, from Publicis Mojo, into the fold.

 

The work

Clemenger Sydney has been firing on all cylinders.

The team has won eight out of the last 10 pitches it has participated in (including Legacy and Visa), and last year won its first Gold Lion in 20 years for the ‘Aus to USA’ outdoor campaign for Virgin Australia.

The agency has also just picked up a Grand Lotus at Adfest for Mimeisthai, the spoken-word trending machine created for Tedx Sydney.

Clemenger BBDO Sydney is also behind Skittles’ ‘Telekinize The Rainbow’ campaign, which allowed Facebook users to move skittles on the screen with their mind. Telekinize used eye-tracking movements from players’ webcams to move wi-fi controlled robots.

V-Rentals, Campbell’s ‘There is only one real stock’, Virgin ‘The Romance is back’ have all been driven out of the Sydney office.

“We’ve got the client list that is the envy of the city. We’ve got the best people, no doubt about that,” says Collins.

The philosophy

“Creativity is the last legal means of competitive advantage,” says Nagy. “Creativity has never, ever been more important.”

But how does the Sydney team feel about having such a creative powerhouse, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, as a cousin?

“Who wouldn’t want to have shared DNA with an agency like Clemenger Melbourne?” responds Pontin. Nagy says those that knock the Sydney office are “in some cases maybe a little bit jealous of what we’ve got here”.

The team also believes it’s never been a better time to be in advertising. “The industry tends to be a bit down on itself at the moment, and I think that’s completely false,” says Pontin. “I think it’s a brilliant time to be in advertising because you can either look at all the change as a challenge, or you can look at it as an opportunity. Not enough people are seizing the opportunity. I think they’re trying to defensively survive, rather than positively thrive.”

 

The future

“The year ahead is full of opportunity for us,” says Collins. “The challenge is realising that.”

Another challenge will be remaining flexible and nimble to ensure the agency is able to “roll with the punches” the changing market deals it.

“I always walk around with a shit-eating grin, because the business does give you its fair share of kicks to the baby-maker,” Crawford says.

“But, even though I walk around like a shriveled version of Yoda, I walk tall within the agency because we are in a good place – and it’s going to be great.”

*This feature first appeared in the May 17, 2013 issue of B&T Magazine. Later that month Clemenger Sydney won the Tourism Australia account. For more on the win click here. 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Australian Retailers – How Can You Stand Out From The Pack On Social?
  • Partner Content

Australian Retailers – How Can You Stand Out From The Pack On Social?

At Zavy, we track the movings and shakings of brands across a range of industries on our social scoreboards. We want to see brands use social media as a space for real brand building and connecting with people – after all, that’s what it was created for. In their ground-breaking advertising report, The Long and […]

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Chobani Unveils New Brand Campaign Via Cummins&Partners
  • Campaigns

Chobani Unveils New Brand Campaign Via Cummins&Partners

Cummins&Partners has redefined what the next decade will look like for Chobani in its new brand campaign Food Made Good. Building on the four years of partnership between Cummins&Partners and Chobani, this campaign was born through strategic leadership to uncover the truth at the core of the brand and bring it to life through a […]

me&u Appoints Clementine Churchill To Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

me&u Appoints Clementine Churchill To Head Of Marketing

me&u, Australia’s first and leading mobile ordering and payment platform, has appointed Clementine Churchill as Head of Marketing as they continue to drive rapid growth and expansion in Australia and new international markets. A highly experienced marketing leader and recognised industry thought leader, Churchill joins me&u from My Muscle Chef, one of Australia’s top rated […]

MILO Asks Fans To Compete To Win #TheMILOCup In New Campaign Via Ogilvy
  • Marketing

MILO Asks Fans To Compete To Win #TheMILOCup In New Campaign Via Ogilvy

MILO is on the search for Australia’s best made MILO, calling on fans to share their creations for the chance to win #TheMILOCup, via Ogilvy Sydney. This integrated campaign follows on from the success of last year’s ‘Hot v Cold’ campaign, which encouraged Aussies to settle the debate on whether MILO is best enjoyed hot […]

New ANZ Research Shows That LGBTQ+ Visual Representation Relies On Stereotypes
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

New ANZ Research Shows That LGBTQ+ Visual Representation Relies On Stereotypes

New research from Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, has found that LGBTQ+ representation in ANZ remains low and stereotypical. It’s 2021 – this needs to change – especially in marketing and advertising. In partnership with GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ media advocacy organisation, Getty Images has launched a full-spectrum Guidebook in direct response to […]

Dir David Attenborough’s Life Stories Launches On LiSTNR
  • Media

Dir David Attenborough’s Life Stories Launches On LiSTNR

Natural historian Sir David Attenborough is one of the most commanding and respected storytellers in the world and now the iconic series, David Attenborough Life Stories, is available on LiSTNR as part of SCA’s recently announced partnership with the BBC. David Attenborough Life Stories is a series of talks on the natural histories of creatures and […]

Menulog Makes Key Marketing Promotions
  • Media

Menulog Makes Key Marketing Promotions

Menulog has doubled down on its marketing support for restaurant partners, with the promotion of Senior Marketing Manager, Rami Tamer, to a newly created role of ‘Head of Partner Marketing’, as well as the promotion of former-Blue 449 Performance Manager, Jaryd Buggins. In the new Head of Partner Marketing role, Rami will lead a team […]

Barry Drinkwater Leaves ARN Brisbane After 28 Years, Will Hand Over Reins To Alisson Longhurst
  • Media

Barry Drinkwater Leaves ARN Brisbane After 28 Years, Will Hand Over Reins To Alisson Longhurst

ARN has announced Barry Drinkwater will be handing over his content director reins at 97.3FM and 4KQ to respected radio executive, Alisson Longhurst. Drinkwater has had a stellar career in radio spanning more than four decades, and was acknowledged as one of Australia’s Top 20 Content Directors by Radio Today in 2020. He began his radio career […]

Australian Radio Industry Joins Global Working Group On Android Automotive
  • Media

Australian Radio Industry Joins Global Working Group On Android Automotive

The Australian commercial radio industry has joined a global working group of broadcasters, carmakers and tech experts collaborating on the innovation of radio in Android Automotive. Android Automotive is Google’s infotainment operating system which is being built into new connected cars. Industry body Commercial Radio Australia is part of the working group, led by the […]

Triple M’s No Talk Day Returns To Inspire Conversation Around Men’s Mental Health
  • Media

Triple M’s No Talk Day Returns To Inspire Conversation Around Men’s Mental Health

For the third consecutive year, Triple M’s No Talk Day will return on Thursday July 1 to raise awareness around men’s mental health and encourage courageous conversations on Triple M’s 45 stations across the country with support from partner Beyond Blue.  From 6:00am – 6:00pm on July 1, Triple M is encouraging listeners to clear […]

Thrive PR Wins SodaStream Account
  • Marketing

Thrive PR Wins SodaStream Account

The farting in the Thrive PR office rises expodentially after the agency snares the SodaStream business.

Businessman using tablet payments online shopping with speed icons customer and data network connection on virtual screen.
  • Marketing

62% Of Shoppers Doing Most Of Their Purchases Online: BigCommerce And PayPal Report

Consumer shifts in how and where people buy products evolved significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating new opportunities for retailers to use new channels, fulfilment strategies and payment options, according to the results of a new survey out today from BigCommerce and PayPal. While a majority of the 3,000 consumers surveyed from the United States, United Kingdom […]