The South Australian government has come under fire by an industry association for awarding the state tourism commission’s creative account to TBWA\Melbourne.
B&T understands the agency beat 35 others to win the $4.95 million account, including longtime incumbent and Adelaide independent KWP.
The Adelaide Advertising and Design Club (AADC) – which is sponsored by KWP – has issued a statement on its website saying the government’s decision to award to award the multimillion account to an interstate company is an “absolute disgrace”.
“More alarmingly, this is just the tip of the iceberg,” the statement said.
“In its entirety, the SA government is the largest advertising client in the state. If taxpayers’ money continues to be sent east, it will adversely impact hundreds, if not thousands of livelihoods and supercharge the brain-drain.
“You might remember how a local Adelaide advertising agency had the eyes of the world turned toward South Australia with globally lauded campaigns like ‘Barossa. Be consumed.’.
“In their infinite wisdom, it appears the SATC has concluded only an interstate agency is now capable of such a feat.
“This of course, is utter nonsense. There are several highly capable, local companies that could have, and should have, been considered for such a lucrative account.”
The AADC said that with TBWA\Melbourne looking to set up a base in Adelaide, renting office space and “dropping a couple of people in it is little more than smoke than mirrors”.
“The reality is, all the strategic and creative work will be done interstate and that’s where the profits will go,” it said.
“Local companies have been invited to tender for the scraps from the Melbourne table, under the direction of the interstate agency.”
Aside from the advertising agency personnel directly affected, the AADC said the domino effect will be felt by many in the creative services industry that the organisation represents.
“Graphic designers, artists, photographers, videographers, editors, audio engineers, film crews, producers, and actors are an example of just how many local jobs will be under threat, while Melbourne bank accounts are swollen by the tax dollars collected from these threatened workers, and every South Australian,” it said.
“Adding insult to injury, if losing the revenue and creative opportunity isn’t enough, we’ve now become the laughing stock of the Australian advertising industry.
“The AADC, on behalf of its members, sponsors and the broader creative community it represents, will continue to fight this injustice and lobby for measures to be put in place to protect local jobs and stem the brain-drain.”
B&T has contacted TBWA for comment.