Creative agency VIRTUE has introduced a number of key hires, innovative campaigns and an expanding roster of clients within its newly established Sydney office.
VIRTUE is the creative agency born from global youth media company VICE, and will service the whole of Asia-Pacific from three offices in Sydney, Singapore and Seoul.
The agency aims to bring the VICE ethos to the creative business through a deep understanding of the youth audience.
Leading VIRTUE in Australia is Alex Light, an industry stalwart whose long tenure at VICE brings experience on campaigns and clients including Unilever, Pernod Ricard, Google, CUB, Air New Zealand and Intel.
Light said: “We believe that brands can and should shape culture, and VIRTUE is uniquely positioned to do just that.
“As a publisher-born agency, we’ve got access to audience data and culture that enable the creation of meaningful ideas.
“Our roots in the VICE media business, and presence across Asia, allow us to tap into talent and trends for both leading Australian brands and multinational clients.”
Joining VIRTUE Sydney in the role of Senior Account Director is Matty Graham, with experience from Clemenger BBDO and DDB, on accounts including Visa, CUB, Mars and Westpac.
He will work alongside Client Services Director, Damien Miller.
The creative department will be helmed by Royce Akers, who has been leading VICE’s creative output for 10 years. Also joining the local team in the role of Senior Creative is Edwin Hughan, working alongside Creative Hannah McElhinney.
Hughan comes with agency pedigree from Host, Clemenger BBDO and Colenso BBDO, before most recently working in the creative team within BuzzFeed.
Akers said, “We’ve gotten bigger over the years but our approach to making things has stayed the same. We’re nimble, we don’t follow the pack, and we create in-step with the people driving culture forward. VIRTUE is no different.
“When we create with brands, it’s additive to the conversations and experience of young people, and delivered with style.”
Moving into the role of Senior Strategist is Melanie Mahony.
Mahony has been with VICE for two years, leading the strategic output for Sydney’s brand partnerships team, with experience on blue-chip brands including Intel, Unilever and Westpac.
“Having worked for news and culture publications for 10 years, I believe brands need to think like publishers if they want to create content and experiences people care about,” said Mahony.
“I’m looking forward to bringing cultural insights to the forefront of our clients’ minds and creating work that adds to – instead of taking away from – culture.”
VIRTUE’s Australian office has already worked with a number of multinational clients, creating a range of culture-first campaigns, including:
- The creation of a new ATL campaign for Pernod Ricard brand Brancott Estate, to launch new sub-brand ‘Identity’ in the New Zealand and Australian markets.
- A powerful video with Closeup on their #freetolove campaign, exploring barriers to love across inter-caste, class, race and LGBTQI+ relationships in India, Brazil and the Philippines, working alongside Lowe and local agency partners
- eBay’s Hump Shopping Network Facebook live stream, running across four weeks and delivering over 16hrs of hilarious content
- Multiple projects for CUB brands including Carlton Dry, Yak Ales, and VB.
Aaron Pearce, VIRTUE APAC Managing Director, said: “There is no doubt the standard of agency work coming out of Australia is impressive and world-class; as we continue to build the local team they will be pivotal in ensuring VIRTUE delivers world-class campaigns both domestically and across Asia.
“We have already seen great success in this model with projects across both North and Southeast Asia, with the likes of ABInBev and Unilever; and this momentum is not stopping as we travel into 2019.”