The Australian outpost of M&C Saatchi is that network's strongest office by far after the flagship agency in London. It launched in 1995, only a few weeks after the main UK agency was created following the Saatchi brothers' ousting from Saatchi & Saatchi. Since then it has established a position as one of Australia's biggest agencies by billings. Performance wobbled a bit in 2011 following a barnstorming run in the 2000s, but the agency was firmly on track again by mid 2012. It was named Australian Agency of the Year in 2014 by both B&T and Campaign Asia Pacific; and was B&T's Australian Agency of the Year again in 2015, the first consecutive double win for any local shop. A major coup in early 2016 was the capture of retailer Woolworths' account, one of Australia's biggest advertisers. There are full-service offices in Sydney and Melbourne as well as a growing collection of satellite marketing services units including design unit Tricky Jigsaw, branding agency Re:, production studio THIS and local offices of the group's global CRM network Lida and sponsorship unit M&C Sports & Entertainment. In 2017, the agency added media to the mix with a deal to acquire local agency Bohemia, previously aligned with WPP AUNZ. Also that year, it backed the launch of new creative shop Ugly, run by former executives from M&C, TBWA and Anomaly. That project, however, never really took off and closed in 2018. Tom Dery, one of the founders of M&C's original Australian outpost, and the chief architect of the group's pan-Asia presence, was chairman until his retirement in 2019. Jaimes Leggett, CEO since 2013, departed in July 2020, to be succeeded by chief strategy officer Justin Graham. M&C Saatchi Australia reported revenues of £75m (approx A$135m) in 2018. Figures for 2019 have not yet been released because of the parent group's financial troubles.
Capsule checked 6th July 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 29th Oct 2019: "Come Live Our Philausophy". Tourism ads are always a hard nut to crack: how to sell the concept of an entire country in one easily digestible chunk without reverting to platitudes. Even harder with a country as incredibly diverse as Australia. But newly appointed M&C Saatchi have done a fine job for Tourism Australia with this gorgeous film, which arguably gets to the heart of the matter without simply resorting to stock-type travelogue and smiling locals. Well, yes actually, these locals are indeed all smiling, but they also all have something pretty compelling to say about such a unique nation. (Not everyone is impressed, though. The ad has received a significant social media backlash in Australia itself since it was launched).
Adbrands Daily Update 30th Sep 2019: "Long May We Play". Here's a wonderfully evocative film from M&C Saatchi Australia for local race betting giant TAB. Lustrous monochrome photography enhances a poetic tribute to all the hard work that leads up to that final five-minute thrill of win or lose. The TAB tote is one of several brands controlled by gambling group Tabcorp, but none of the others get the opportunity to portray themselves as heroically as this.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Jun 2017: Ads of the Week: "Cogs". Australian educational charity AIME is launching into the international market with this beautifully animated, heartwarming film from M&C Saatchi Sydney and Zeilt Productions. The film aims to illustrate how people born with financial or educational advantages can help the less well-off to break free from their traditional roles. (But hang on, who will be left to keep the factories running...?). There's a certain echo of Chipotle Mexican Grill's similarly message-enhanced animations of a few years ago, but you have to admit that the style and sentiment is far better suited to a charity than it is to a fast-food restaurant.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Apr 2017: A busy week at M&C Saatchi Australia. The agency has provided financial backing for the launch of new creative boutique Ugly, co-founded by former M&C strategy chief Ross Berthinussen, ex-TBWA ECD Gary McCreadie and Hazelle Klonhammer, previously CEO of Anomaly in Amsterdam. M&C Australia has itself poached Russell Hopson, group managing director of Adam&Eve DDB in London for the past year. He is relocating to Australia, along with his wife Priya Patel, currently managing director of Y&R London. Hopson becomes group managing director of M&C Saatchi Australia.
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Feb 2017: M&C Saatchi's Australian outpost added media to its offering with the acquisition of independent agency Bohemia, previously part-owned by WPP. Launched in 2011, Bohemia was a star agency of the early 2010s, rapidly picking up a series of major local accounts including Vodafone and brewing giant Lion. However that lightning ascendancy was followed by an equally dramatic decline, with those early wins moving on to other agencies in recent years. The M&C Saatchi deal offers Boehemia a welcome lifeline. It is expected to retain standalone status, at least for the time being, rather than be folded into M&C Saatchi.
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