Adland veterans launch new agency offering Grown-ups

Grown Ups

Grown Ups

Adland veterans Grant Booker, Mick Hunter and Andrew Moss have launched new agency Grown-ups with the selling point that they have the experience that many younger agency staff lack.

The “experience based” agency claims to offer “a direct alternative to the traditional layered agency model.”

Hunter and Booker have 30 years experience each while Moss has 25. Creative partner Booker’s agency experience has included major Australian operations Mojo, M&C Saatchi and BMF. Fellow creative partner Hunter was creative director at The Campaign palace and Whybin TBWA Sydney.

Planning director Andrew Moss began his career in London before working in Sydney on agencies including Campaign Palace, Lowe Hunt and Red Spider.   

The issue of staff experience versus cost has been fiercely debated on Mumbrella in recent months. McCann Worldgroup boss Ben Lilley’s guest post on why he was looking for younger agency workers generated a large number of comments.

In a video interview with Mumbrella deputy editor Robin Hicks, Hunter said:

“A lot of clients are actually being fed juniors to work on their business. In a lot of cases they are paying for senior people but ending up with junior people working on their business which is completely wrong, if not fraudulent.”

Booker said: “Agencies have been dealing with ever decreasing margins over the last five to ten years and so have reduced the number of senior people on staff. I can understand why agencies are doing this, but it’s potentially detrimental to their clients”

Hunter added: “Younger people coming through have fewer experienced colleagues around these days to teach them and remind them what they’re there to do: sell the client’s product.”

Also joining the agency as art director is Hunter’s creative partner Ian Morton.

In a statement setting out its positioning, the agency said:

“We believe simply that experience – and the right industry background – are the best pre-conditions in an agency partner to deliver results that will consistently make an impact on a client’s business.

“Yet by contrast – we’ve observed our industry over the last 10-15 years as discounting the importance of skills and experience – or have reduced client access to the best people in the agency – it’s because the focus has been to reduce cost

“We’ve ended up with a situation where many clients are being serviced today by a service model with little ‘critical mass’ of business and industry understanding

“Grown-ups is different – we’re an agency model that gives competitive clients what they are looking for – an agency squarely set up to drive business results.”


  1. Peter Mountford
    2 Mar 12
    2:06 pm

  2. Great idea. You do get the feeling that the timing is right for this.

    Good luck.

  3. TC
    2 Mar 12
    2:45 pm

  4. Where do we sign up… contact details please…

  5. Old style
    2 Mar 12
    2:45 pm

  6. Agree with all this. Timing is right for me, & my business.

    Where will they be located? How can we contact them?

  7. Bec
    2 Mar 12
    2:46 pm

  8. I am getting sick of hearing about this old vs young mentality – to say one is better than the other is such typically narrow minded thinking – younger people can teach their older colleagues about digital trends while older colleagues can teach a younger generation about planning or insights etc…

    I’ve met some young people who are bloody useless just as much as I have met older people who are backward thinkers and refuse to innovate.

    Let’s just hire based on talent and move on from the age debate.

  9. Richard Boland
    2 Mar 12
    2:46 pm

  10. Good luck gents.

  11. mumbrella
    2 Mar 12
    2:47 pm

  12. Hi TC,

    Click on the word Grown Ups – it should link to their website.



  13. BK
    2 Mar 12
    2:54 pm

  14. They can have all the doddering baby boomer clients they want. Let’s face it that’s all they are going to attract.

  15. Mick Hunter
    2 Mar 12
    2:59 pm

  16. You can get in touch with us on or alternatively call 0409045754
    Thanks, Mick.

  17. Georgie McMaster
    2 Mar 12
    3:24 pm

  18. Good on you guys ! Best of luck – you deserve i,t Booky.

  19. Robbie
    2 Mar 12
    3:38 pm

  20. The issue isn’t about age; a great idea can come from a 22yo or a 52yo. And it also isn’t about experience; doing something wrong for 25 years is still doing it wrong.

    The real issue that Grant touched on is wastage. Multinational, mainstream agencies are filled with unnecessary layers, structures and processes. If a campaign takes more than 6-8 weeks to deliver from brief to dispatch then something is wrong and you’re wasting money.

    Remove the layers, have the right people in the room and don’t over think it!

  21. Meljay
    2 Mar 12
    3:45 pm

  22. We’re a large, youth focused organisation, and we love these people. They’ve done outstanding work for us, and have very grown up links, networks and contacts, second to none. Plus, they totally get what we do.

  23. beezlebub
    2 Mar 12
    3:46 pm

  24. excellent move, about time there was a real option to the useless hipsters occupying most agencies. As a client i can never understand why my account is worked on by people who know so little about everything. And it’s not as if they’re whip-smart, either. Those grads became bankers, lawyers and doctors.

    —> @BK you’ve demonstrated exactly what i’m talking about. Baby boomers are the largest, healthiest and wealthiest generation in history and their lifestyle spending in the first 15 years of retirement will nearly match that of their 40 years in the workforce because they’re not paying for houses and kids’ education. You keep focussed on selling softdrink to 10 year olds and leave the bigger market to the grown ups.

  25. Paul
    2 Mar 12
    3:49 pm

  26. Their website doesnt seem to have basic SEO techniques, plus the words on their Nav Bar are very hard to read – you guys might need a few young guns to show you how to set up a website. Maybe you can teach them how draw some story boards using pencils?

  27. Alex Rahr
    2 Mar 12
    3:56 pm

  28. So, I’m looking for an internship…..

  29. Kelly
    2 Mar 12
    4:05 pm

  30. Like!

  31. Me Me Me!!!
    2 Mar 12
    4:20 pm

  32. Need a client-service grown-up?

  33. tony simms
    2 Mar 12
    4:22 pm

  34. Good luck guys. The time is right. I was talking with a senior client person this morning who was annoyed at the fact the different teams from each agency he deals with have stripped out the experience and offer kids who stare like a deer into the headlights when asked to solve issues. So many clients face the issue every day. It may save money but clients suffer and move. All the best. Tony

  35. Wake up Geoff!
    2 Mar 12
    4:27 pm

  36. Sorry, how did that video end?…I dozed off.

    Guys, when you’re “veteran”, you have to stop trying to be cool ad guys. Because cool is over for you. Gone. Older creative people who take themselves too seriously are sad. Now, If you’re going to appear in video, you have to at least pretend to have some energy or personality. Think Attenborough, Mahareshi Mahish Yogi, Santa Clause, the old Wiggle or Jane Caro.

    Ok, let’s do it again….action!

  37. Mike
    2 Mar 12
    4:57 pm

  38. “a great strategy, then a great idea, then you choose where it goes”. Oh dear. Welcome to 1975.

  39. chappy
    2 Mar 12
    5:01 pm

  40. I love the fact that an agency has created such a strong USP for itself and wish the Grown Ups all the best.
    I’m just not convinced that clients are as concerned about whether their agency staff can rattle off the names of all the characters in The Sullivans as they are with agency staff understanding their business problems and applying contemporary solutions to those problems. That’s not a criticism, it’s just a reality.

    I believe experience is essential to an agency’s offering. But experience is a rolling stone… I hope they’re employing a few youngies to explain how Pinterest works.

  41. Mike
    2 Mar 12
    5:05 pm

  42. Brilliant. Good luck with it.

    Smart-arse, self-obsessed, stubble-faced hipster dufuses are not the people a client wants to entrust with millions of dollars with.

    People who’ve walked the walk, made mistakes, learned from them and evolved are what’s needed right across agency land. And they tend to stay rather than change jobs every 6months, so clients can build a relationship.
    Great concept – deserves success.

  43. Kaye Fallick
    2 Mar 12
    5:20 pm

  44. Good luck ‘Grownups’ – you sound like a worthy addition to adland.
    BTW why are the comments automatically assuming young onions are good at technology and older bods might be the only ones with planning experience? I agree that the last thing we need is an intergenerational slanging match, so let’s appreciate the qualities of all ages and stages – but let’s also NOT assume that just because you are older you are a technical luddite and just because you are younger you lack business maturity. Both assumptions are simply wrong.

  45. Meljay
    2 Mar 12
    5:26 pm

  46. Trouble is, those mostly “doddering baby boomer clients” are the people in charge of the purse strings and the decision-making, at the top of the food chain. Like me. For a while yet, anyway.

  47. Nigel
    2 Mar 12
    5:38 pm

  48. Experienced – yes. Contemporary – no.

    Guru Media, of which I’m a Director, have been doing this for 11 years; experienced people working with clients who don’t want to pay for 24 year olds who have been inducted onto a clients business on the sly, whilst those who won the business/lied to the client are never seen again. This is endemic in our industry.

    Now there’s plenty of talented young folk out there, but those talents need to be harnessed. Instead they’re shoved down clients throats before their time & without grounding. Why – the almighty $.

    Agencies will bemoan the fact that they must cut corners (privately) as they are screwed into the ground on fees by bloodsucking clients; hence the inexperienced folk who cost less working on their business. Cop out.
    Most clients, big & small (bar a few) will pay for a decent product.

    These ‘experienced’ blokes are not serving up anything original & are going to be charging like wounded bulls. Simply, the product will have to be mighty good for the client to pay.

  49. Anne Miles
    3 Mar 12
    11:52 am

  50. Nothing like having a clear niche. This will attract like-minded and good for them. That’s enough to build a business. Good one guys.

  51. Tim
    3 Mar 12
    5:21 pm

  52. Irony: The Grown-Ups website appears to have been made by a 13 year old.

  53. Jim
    3 Mar 12
    6:59 pm

  54. How fitting that their “Our Work” bit of the site only has TV and Print.

    Old Farts.

  55. Liza
    4 Mar 12
    1:13 am

  56. The web site is definitely VERY old school, I’d say around 2001. Couldn’t their digital partner have built them something a bit smarter?

  57. Bob
    4 Mar 12
    10:20 pm

  58. I love it when the only point the undergrads can make is in relation to the website nav, as it shows why we clients have had a gutful of them. They aren’t a consumer brand looking to transact online so their website isn’t important, juvenile muppets. Their intelligence and experience is how they will be judged by potential clients

  59. Ricky Bland
    5 Mar 12
    10:14 am

  60. Nick off Dick

  61. JohnW
    5 Mar 12
    10:28 am

  62. Shrewd positioning you guys. One piece of advice from a guy who’s been around, both client side and big agencies. You might have been used to charging Publicis or Palace hourly rates, don’t charge these costs at Grown-ups. Be yourselves, lean, learned and good collaborators (like Andrew Moss). Don’t let big fees blindside you and your business model will succeed, big time.

  63. Damo
    5 Mar 12
    11:01 am

  64. Anything where Mick Hunter is involved is a sure-fire hit.

  65. Paul
    5 Mar 12
    2:09 pm

  66. Nice one Bob – Yeah potential clients aren’t gonna look at their website…Their website wont have any impact on marketers perceptions…really you think that’s ok and only a undergrad would notice it… Bob, do you know what a lot of people do during TV ad breaks? Well you might not see this in the retirment village on the central coast …but there are large percentage of people on their smart phones and tablets looking at stuff online that interests them vs flicking between the massively fragmented digital TV stations hoping that an ad created for media cosumption behaviour of 1986 will be rammed down their throat.

    So…you might want to select a agency partner that respects one of the most important mediums… but I guess that medium wont be recommended much by the grown ups – ‘a great strategy, then a great idea, then you choose where it goes”.

  67. fraser
    5 Mar 12
    2:28 pm

  68. Reminds me a lot of the ABC TV show – Grumpy Old Men, quite insightful, not everyone’s cup of tea but more often than nut hits the mark

  69. Jeepers
    5 Mar 12
    2:39 pm

  70. @ Jim…..

    mmmm, they’ve done work that people still talk about now. To me that’s social media right?

    Out of curiosity have you done things similar?

  71. Trevor
    5 Mar 12
    3:45 pm

  72. Staffy – a good choice. Hipsters would have had a ooodle for sure.

    BTW good idea hope it works. Older people are the ones spending so it’d help to have an agency that understand the market. Clients have started the race to the bottom with their retainers. Hope you stem the tide.

  73. jean cave
    5 Mar 12
    8:16 pm

  74. The best grown-ups I know in my admittedly small sphere of influence, are “ageless” types who have nurtured their child-within over their lifetimes. They are a bit silly on occasion and laugh a lot, love novelty and wade in when necessary. They are usually ahead of the pack.
    There I go again describing myself again . . . .

  75. Matty
    9 Mar 12
    11:27 am

  76. This has already been done. So lame. Seen it before:

  77. Terry
    23 Mar 12
    2:59 pm

  78. The issue is the same everywhere in the world. Check out: http://adcontrarian.blogspot.c.....egend.html

  79. jean cave
    23 Mar 12
    7:25 pm

  80. If you are under thirty say, I was creating stuff on a computer before you were born.

  81. Tom
    24 Mar 12
    2:32 pm

  82. There’s an American agency doing the same.
    We live in aging societies.
    There’s definitely a place for an agency with this focus.