Clemenger Sydney’s CEO has handed down a withering assessment on the parlous state of the advertising agency industry in Australia and blames clients’ unwillingness to remunerate them fairly as the root of the problem.
Andy Pontin, CEO of Clemenger BBDO Sydney, who is responsible for the Clemenger BBDO, Proximity and Porter Novelli businesses in NSW, was speaking as part of a skills shortage workshop organised in partnership by ADMA and B&T.
“I think you can either say there is a talent shortage or there is a dollar shortage. And our issue is that there is a dollar shortage. The talent’s out there, we just can’t afford to pay for it,” he said.
Pontin said the problem applied to both talent already living in Australia as well as talent the agency was trying to bring into Australia.
“I think where we and every other agency is really struggling is that we used to be able to attract really great thinkers because generally we pay more, we used to offer a better working environment and often more variety in the role. All three of those things have changed now.”
Pontin said that agencies were now paying relatively less for their staff than the the clients they serviced.
“So I think now we’re beginning to pay less, so it used to be an account director would be sitting across the table from the client, our guy would be earning more, now they are probably earing 30 per cent less than the person on the client side. So that’s a big challenge.”
So how do you keep people on board with that, Pontin asked the room?
“One way to keep on board is the soft stuff. So it’s the cultural side, the environment, well that costs money and we all have tight controls over line items. So, that’s difficult to do and also frequently now many of our clients have funkier premises than us.
“They have their own creative product, their own great thinkers and they can offer similar scope and scale in the roles that really only used to exist in advertising.
“So that’s the issue really: the talent’s there, we’ve got to find a way to make an advertising agency the right place for the right talent to land,” he answered his own question.
He also said that while many agencies were going for people with broad skill sets, he said what was really needed was people who are jacks of all trades, masters of none.
“You still need experts. Clients still look across the table at you and say: who’s your digital guy? Or, who’s your social guy? So you need all that because the generalists know some things, but most clients will say that that’s a weak link but it’s actually what they pay for.”
Pontin finished off his opening salvo in the workshop with one last observation: “If clients paid us properly, probably we’d have better talent. And that sounds like a whinge, but the industry is in a dramatic hole at the moment, because we sold ourselves 20 years ago onto the consultancy, head-hour based model and I’m telling you in 20 years, that hourly rate for that creative director has not changed, but the salaries have changed.
“So our ability to detach our revenue line from a linear connection to a cost line is zero. And that’s a horrendous business model in a business changing as fast as ours.”
Stratosphere and AJF have collaborated with Top Shelf International’s NED Australian Whisky brand for a campaign featuring a combination of TV sponsorship and out of home placement. The campaign features a range of 15 second TV commercials live in key AFL and NRL games on Thursday and Friday nights across regional markets. The sponsorships will […]
To celebrate the start of this year’s football season, which kicked off last weekend, Tiger Beer has unveiled its latest global campaign – ‘The Golden Son’ – starring official Tiger brand ambassador Son Heung-Min. ‘The Golden Son’ celebrates Son’s most recent triumph: in May, he became the first Asian player to win the Premier League’s […]
The One Centre, an ideas and innovation agency, has been engaged by real estate entrepreneur Stefon Bertram and a team of leading agents to create and launch Pello – Sydney s newest real estate agency. The One Centre is responsible for the formation of the brand and the creation of the full Pello brand experience. […]
Online marketplace for freelance work, Fiverr International Ltd. (NYSE: FVRR), today announced a new partnership with Selina, one of the world’s largest experiential hospitality brands built to address the needs of millennial and Gen Z travellers. The purpose of the partnership is to provide Anywhere Workers (i.e. people who work remotely while travelling from at […]
Broadsheet Media has partnered with Campari Group’s The Glen Grant Single Malt Whisky to bring a photography exhibition, Unhurried By Nature, to Melbournians this week. Unhurried by Nature is a collaboration between Broadsheet and The Glen Grant Single Malt Whisky, where four Australian photographers will present images that document nature in their unique styles. The […]
Australian out-of-home business Shopper has launched Shopper Impact to deliver synchronised campaign creative across multiple screens in prominent shopping centre locations. Advertisers can now capitalise on side-by-side screens at shopping centre entry points and near escalators, where distraction from other signage and product offerings is at a minimum. With Shopper Impact, campaign creative can be […]
In this opinion piece, Hayley Fisher (pictured), AUNZ country manager, Adyen describes some of the key ways the retail sector is driving sales despite global financial issues, including new payment technologies and methods. The rising cost of living might have Australians carefully tracking their spending and rethinking their lifestyle habits, but it’s yet to rear […]