2015 Annual: Top 10 Mumbrella analysis pieces and features

annual2015 (1)As we reflect on 2015 here are some of the most read analysis and feature pieces produced by the Mumbrella team.

droga5A slow motion car wreck: The unravelling of Droga5 Sydney

In just seven years of existence Droga5 Sydney experienced dizzying highs and crashing lows. Steve Jones looks at how it became Australian marketing’s cautionary tale. 

“This was obviously a very difficult decision, both professionally and personally, and as a proud Australian, it was a bitter pill to swallow,” admitted David Droga in the announcement his Sydney operation was to close.

No other agency has launched with so much hype, garnered so many headlines along the way, and fizzled out so quickly. But does the blame lie with management or clients?

James Greet-thumb-200x300-106038What now for Ikon?

From an agency revered by its rivals Ikon has fallen to become one fighting for its very existence. Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes looks at what caused this fall, and what the agency can do to build from here.

News of the resignation of James Greet as CEO of Ikon Communications has come as a surprise to many in the industry. Retaining the Commonwealth Bank account made it appear the once-revered agency had started to emerge from what had been a very deep trough.

But scratch under the surface and it’s clear Ikon is still an agency dealing with a lot of issues.

Its struggles are well documented, and date back to before the sudden culling of CEO Dan Johns and much of his senior leadership team. Greet was bought into replace him, but it was no secret he had a tough job on his hands.

Tim BurrowesBetter Call Saul begins tonight. If you choose to steal it, don’t pretend you’re Robin Hood

Better Call Saul launches on new video streaming service Stan tonight. Its low price point and fast-tracking calls the bluff of torrenters who claim they don’t pay for content because it is overpriced or takes too long to come to Australia, argues Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes.

A while back I had one of those dinner party conversations where we had to change the subject because we were about to fall out.   

I was debating music piracy with a friend-of-a-friend. He’s a massive music fan, but downloads everything from pirate sites. It came up that I had never downloaded pirated music (or films, or TV) because I was against doing so.

I could tell he thought I was being pompous and holier-than-thou. And I was getting frustrated because I felt he wasn’t even trying to make a logical moral case for his actions.

Nic-Christensen-234x151-234x151-234x151The Mediacom furore: the questions facing the industry

Today saw GroupM release details of the EY audit of Mediacom examining years of misreporting in its TV buying and also sees the group make fresh admissions about the use of so-called ‘value banks’ in Australia. Nic Christensen assesses the initial impact these revelations could have, not only on GroupM, but on the wider industry.

“I don’t understand it to be quite honest, there is no financial reward,” says John Steedman, chairman of GroupM, Australia’s biggest media buying agency group. “In my 40 years in the business, I was a buyer, and I have never seen this.”

As the industry learns the details the EY audit of Mediacom on what can be characterised as the deliberate faking of campaign reports for three multi-million dollar clients over at least two years, and the numerous revelations that have emerged in the wake of the discovery of this practice, one thing is clear: right now we are left with many more questions.

Woolworths: Where did it go wrong?

Woolworths logoAustralia’s biggest supermarket is struggling. Steve Jones spoke to industry experts about how Woolworths’ marketing strategy has faltered, and whether the brand can revive its fortunes.

When Woolworths chief executive Grant O’Brien fell on his sword last month after another disappointing set of quarterly figures, it surprised no one.

Without a chief marketer following the abrupt departure of Tony Phillips – and with several other high profile executives exiting stage left in recent months – it was just another in a long line of senior level departures at the embattled supermarket.

According to industry observers the management upheaval is symptomatic of a business which has not only lost its way but one that is unable to find a solution to its decline in sales.

simon canning-picBoiling the frog: how Sorrell stalked Singo’s prize for a decade and a half

STW’s merger with WPP this week has been 17 years in the making. Simon Canning looks at the long road travelled by Australia’s biggest holding company. 

Twenty two years after John Singleton floated his eponymous agency and 17 years after WPP joined in an unlikely allegiance, Sir Martin Sorrell has finally done what everyone expected and taken control of the business.

News that WPP has taken a controlling stake in STW Group, the business that began as John Singleton Advertising, will come as a surprise to no one. What has surprised is that it took so long.

Sorrell’s pursuit of STW has been a frog boiling exercise of epic proportions, but followers of adland history will see a theme playing out that mirrors his takeover of GPY&R, the once unassailable George Patterson Bates that finally fell to WPP’s control.

Droga5: Has the reality finally caught up with the hype?

tim burrowes landscapeWith the departure of Droga5’s key creative after just a year, Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes asks whether reality has caught up with one of Australia’s most talked about agencies.

I’ll say this for Droga5.

Over the last seven years, no agency has built such a big reputation on so little sustained success.   

Based on the well deserved global reputation of the US-based Aussie David Droga, the agency’s Sydney operation launched in 2008.

The big local name was David Nobay, Nobby to those who know him.

Leo Burnett's PR crisis was triggered inadvertently by a press release about five new white. male creative hires

Leo’s Friday afternoon tweets highlight the industry’s problems with equality

Leo Burnett has wasted a chance to strike a real blow for equality by tweeting its response to the storm its all-white, all-male press release generated 48-hours late on a Friday afternoon, argues Miranda Ward

Writing about the ad industry, it’s always been pretty evident there’s a gender inequality problem in the more senior ranks – usually because it’s me, a woman in her 20s, sitting across a table from an older man chatting about the ad business.

I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve met with senior women in creative agencies during my two years covering the space for Mumbrella.

While Leo Burnett has been copping all the flak over this issue which isn’t an agency problem but an industry one, the agency’s comments did little to change the conversation.

Damian-Eales-3-1-234x156Shop assistant to media mogul: how Damian Eales rose to the top at News Corp

After forging his name as a marketer Damian Eales is now one of the most powerful media executives in Australia. He sat down with Nic Christensen to talk about his new role, how Ted Horton influenced him and the challenges and opportunities facing News Corp.

“I have to tell you reading The Sun headlines during meetings is a very entertaining way to pass the time,” quips Damian Eales, as he looks down at the Apple Watch on his wrist.

“Even during this interview my iWatch has buzzed,” says the former retailer cum bank marketer who now finds himself in charge of some of Australia’s biggest and most powerful newspapers, before saying News Corp Australia will have its own apps on the device “imminently”.

The ad industry’s secret shame

AlexAdvertising has always been a white boy’s club, but now is the time to change that argues Alex Hayes. 

Cindy Gallop’s tirade yesterday about Leo Burnett Sydney’s creative hiresbeing five white men has caused a lot of commentary. What worries me is the amount which are to the effect of ‘there’s nothing to see here’.

Last year I did some management training which involved personality testing, and the results were very interesting. It showed that in each department of the company we had effectively hired the same personality types.

The lesson: you tend to hire people like you.




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