Creative Agency Fires Back At Harsh Criticism Over TBWA\Melbourne Account Win

Creative Agency Fires Back At Harsh Criticism Over TBWA\Melbourne Account Win

A South Australian creative agency has hit back at an industry association which slammed the state government’s decision to award its tourism account to TBWA\Melbourne.

B&T understands TBWA\Melbourne beat 35 other agencies 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 – issued a statement last week saying the government’s decision to award to award the multimillion account to an interstate company was an “absolute disgrace”.

Now, South Australian agency Showpony Advertising has issued a statement of its own condemning the AADC for its comments. Check it out in full below:

An open letter to the AADC

While we love your passion, on this particular issue you don’t speak for Showpony Advertising.

 In fact, we think that your press release regarding the decision of the SATC to appoint an interstate agency got it wrong.

Firstly, there are three South Australian agencies that were appointed to the SATC roster, including Showpony. The value of the tactical campaigns that make up this portion of the roster is currently unknown, but it could be significant as SATC have a breadth of stories to tell. Regardless of the dollar value allocated to tactical campaigns, we don’t agree with your assertion that this portion of the account is merely “scraps from the Melbourne table”.

Showpony has been appointed to precisely the share of the account that we tendered for. Your derision of that win undermines the hard work, care and enthusiasm of our staff members of your organisation – and the very people you claim to represent.

You made it pretty hard for them to enjoy their win this week.

Secondly, this decision is hardly unprecedented. Tourism WA is with Cummins&Partners in Melbourne, Tourism Tasmania with JimJam in Sydney, Tourism Queensland – arguably one of the biggest tourism boards in the country – is with JWT in Sydney, and Tourism NT has long been held outside of the Northern Territory. Even the recent Tourism Australia Super Bowl ad was the product of Droga5 of New York, so SATC should be applauded for having resisted this trend for so many years.

Another precedent is the 2010 decision by SA Health to roster Perth agency, 303 Lowe, alongside Showpony. Amid the predictions of the death of the local industry, we got on with the job of responding to briefs and produced some of our best work including:

  • ‘Aboriginal Immunisation’ – closing the gap in immunisation rates for one-year-olds, winning a Gold Effie for effectiveness.
  • ‘Waiting is not an Emergency’ – an online film that gained 14 million organic views and recognised at Clio and NY Festivals.
  • ‘Hands off our Ambos’ – precipitating a 42 per cent drop in attacks on Ambos, recognised for creativity and effectiveness in NY and Cannes among others.

We proved our capability to out-perform the interstate competitors and now only South Australian agencies occupy the SA Health creative roster.

Our point is that the response to an account going interstate should be to do good work and win the business back. Or better still, export our creative work to other states as we did with the viral film, Hands off our Ambos, which was recut for Tasmanian television and aired on behalf of the Tasmanian Health Department.

It then won the AADC’s Gold Chair for best in show for 2017.

Finally, the local advertising community must acknowledge that we now work in a bigger industry, in a much smaller world. It’s not about South Australian versus interstate agencies anymore – that’s an outdated mentality – it’s about doing great work for clients based anywhere. Showpony’s Hands TV campaign for Bridgestone Australia/NZ has aired in a dozen countries around the world and SA Health’s Waiting is not an Emergency online film had more views overseas than it did in Australia.

In 2016, we opened a Melbourne office to provide a base for our growing ambitions and have produced great work for Bendigo Bank, Regis Aged Care and Remedy Kombucha among many others. We hope to do some work for the Victorian government too.

We do this because we don’t see the borders that AADC are so passionately protecting.

And in our opinion, that’s the real challenge to South Australian business. Broaden your horizons and don’t protect your borders like some small-town Trump.

Just do good work.


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    Latest comments
    1. Well said Showpony, but our local, State and Federal Governments have been appointing overseas owned multinational agencies for decades and all that seems forgotten.

    2. I’d love to see the boundaries open even more. How about creatives from Australia being more accessible overseas? I for one, have more offshore quoting going on right now with people wanting our best talent… That’s what it should be all about rather than being so colloquial and small minded. Nicely said @Showpony

AADC Adelaide Advertising and Design Club SATC Showpony Advertising South Australian Tourism Commission TBWA\Melbourne

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