Innocean: Mumbrella Creative Agency Review – A good car agency desperately needs a new client

MCAR coverThe newly published Mumbrella Creative Agency Review examines Australia’s top 30 ad agencies. Today Robin Hicks examines how Innocean has fared over the last 12 months.

Not the most popular choice to be included in this report. One panellist echoed the view of a number of others with the one-word summary, “who?” This view comes through in our survey. Innocean receives a kicking in almost every category, coming near bottom for creativity, planning, talent, commercial success, and rock bottom for its impact on the industry, talent and momentum. It does well in one category, however: client stability.

If Innocean does not suffer from anonymity, it is hurt by the perception that is little more than an in-house agency for Hyundai and Kia, its only two  clients. What the agency would do for an account that isn’t a Korean carmaker. But getting on pitch lists, let alone winning pitches, has proved a tall order for the agency. It’s a chicken and egg situation not helped by its foreign heritage and peculiar name – which is an awkward fusion of the words innovation and ocean.

However, to look at the work, especially since the signing of creative director Scott Lambert last October, Innocean can reasonably be described as the best car ad agency in the country. The Tim Bullock-directed spot for Kia Sportage featuring Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash, the ‘Makes perfect sense’ Kia campaign, Hyundai ‘Amazing day’ and Kia ‘Grow up; not old’ are said to be leading the car category for TV advertising. Indeed, it’s hard to fault Innocean for delivering excellent work for its clients. Even if has been less effective at finding new ones.

Signing Collette Van Rooyen as head of digital, not from another agency but from Pacific Magazines, was an interesting move to nudge Innocean away from a reliance on traditional advertising. She followed the additions of new business director James Welch, who was brought in from Oddfellows in February, along with events and sponsorship manager, Jo Gilbert.

The agency, which is still only two years old but has undoubted potential, will need to make more moves like this if it is to get noticed, diversify ifs offering, give its work a stronger digital outlet and, that’s right, win a new client.

To read more about Innocean, including full details on how it was scored by both our expert panel and Mumbrella’s own readers, to view examples of the agency’s work and read its own assessment of its performance, buy a copy of the Mumbrella Creative Agency Review priced at $75. The book features an assessment of the country’s top 30 ad agencies. To buy the book, click here.

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