The local outpost of McCann Erickson has been one of Australia's leading creative agencies since first opening its doors in the country in 1959. There are advertising agencies in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as satellite units including McCann Healthcare. However performance had grown a little stale by 2010. The following year, McCann merged with independent shop Smart, and that agency's founder Ben Lilley was appointed CEO for the whole McCann group in Australia & New Zealand. The agency got a huge boost soon afterwards from the enormous popular success of its Dumb Ways To Die viral, which went on to win an unprecedented five Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions festival in 2013, as well as scores of other accolades. As a result, McCann Melbourne ended up as one of the world's top two most awarded agencies of the year. Creative chief John Mescall - also inherited from Smart - was rewarded with a transfer to New York in a global role as chairman of the network's creative council. The agency's profile has been a little more low-key since then. The Dumb Ways concept has been repeated a few times since then, but has failed to gain the same acclaim; nor has any other local campaign achieved similar global fame. CEO Lilley announced his resignation at the beginning of 2018 to take a break from the industry. Adding to the general uncertainty was the loss of several members of the creative department, poached by Deloitte's fast-expanding marketing services unit. Lilley's successor was eventually named as Nicole Taylor, poached from DDB Sydney; however she moved on after just one year and will not be replaced. The two main agencies in Sydney and Melbourne and led by managing directors Hazelle Klonhammer and Georgie Pownall respectively. Charles Cadell is president of McCann Asia Pacific, but will step down in 2019 to be replaced by Alex Lubar. See also the Adbrands profile of the main McCann Worldgroup network.
Capsule checked 20th June 2018
Which clients does McCann Australia handle? Find out more from the Adbrands Account Assignments database
Who are the competitors of McCann Australia? see Australia's Leading Advertising Agencies
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Adbrands Social Media 26th Jun 2019: "The School Pickup". Every mother (and more than a few fathers) know that kids can be a little - how can we put it? - fractious by the time they finish school at the end of a long day. It is a truth universally acknowledged all over the globe. Enter Coca-Cola, which is seizing on that fact for the launch of its first enhanced milk drink in Australia this month, under the Nutriboost brand. Here's the entertaining ad from McCann Sydney. It's also the first decent spot we've seen so far this week in the traditional post-Cannes lull. Come on guys, it's time to get back to work.
Adbrands Social Media 24th Sep 2018: It's rare these days to find a Coca-Cola ad that's worth a second look - how times have changed from a decade or so ago! - but here's an exception to that rule. It's no classic, mind, but this spot from McCann Sydney, made specifically for the Australian market soars above the hackneyed hard-sell cookie-cutter spots flooding the wider international market. I mean, really: "Look, here's the thing about Diet Coke. It's delicious. It makes me feel good." Who signed off on that script? Instead, this ad places the ubiquitous cola firmly in a local cultural context, and does so with charm and some decent production values. Although the 1975 vignette is a bit off: those swaying hippies bear a close resemblance to extras from The Walking Dead.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Mar 2016: McCann Australia took further steps to move media planning and buying back inhouse and away from traditional partner UM or third party agencies. The agency has recruited several executives from rivals, including a head of media, to ramp up its inhouse offering. CEO Ben Lilley told local trade site Mumbrella, "The truth is our media offering is only there because, in the first instance we had a number of clients who started talking to us about wanting to better integrate their strategic and creative work we were doing with their media and channel planning needs. They weren't satisfied with what they were getting with their existing media partners and they wanted to see whether we could improve on that." He was also critical of the current state of the local media industry. "I hope it's going to improve the offering across the industry as far as waking up a few media agencies, in particular, as to how they can better step up or improve or evolve their own agency's models because there is nothing harder for us, or other creative agencies, than working with shoddy media partners. There are some great media agencies out there, but there are some that are really struggling."
Adbrands Weekly Update 19th June 2014: Midway at the Cannes Lions Festival, and McCann Melbourne, creators of last year's all-conquering "Dumb Ways To Die", have snapped up the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix with another rail-themed campaign, this time for V/Line Trains. The campaign encouraged rural families to send "guilt trip" return home train tickets to sons and daughters who had fled the sticks for the big city.
Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Jan 2014: The Big Won advertising creativity rankings for 2013 were published this week, and there was little doubt about the year's biggest winner. The Dumb Ways To Die safety campaign for Melbourne's Metro Trains, issued towards the end of 2012, dominated virtually every awards festival throughout the year. It was the clear champion as the world's most awarded campaign with an extraordinary 735 awards points, more than three times the nearest competitor. (This provided another surprise, an animal charity ad from Draftfcb in New Zealand). Dumb's success also catapulted McCann Melbourne to the top of the Most Creative Agencies table, ahead of Ogilvy Brazil (whose campaigns for Dove were also among the world's most awarded) and AlmapBBDO Brazil. Ogilvy was also the #1 network, topping BBDO, DDB and Leo Burnett. Starcom MediaVest took the prize for most awarded media network ahead of OMD and Havas Media.
Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Jun 2013: The Cannes Lions festival came to a crescendo on Sunday, setting at least two new records. McCann Australia's sublime Dumb Ways To Die animation for Melbourne Metro was the most awarded ad in the festival's history, adding two more Grand Prix in Integrated and Film, bringing its total to five in all. It also scooped up another 23 Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, to amass a final tally of 28 awards. That success also helped boost Australia into the #2 spot behind the US as the most awarded country.
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