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Banjo shuts Brisbane office as clients and MD Stephen Forth move to Sapient Nitro

stephen forth banjo

Forth - now MD at Sapient Nitro

Ad agency Banjo has closed the doors of its Brisbane office in order to focus on the company’s Sydney operation.

The move was in part driven by the slowing of business caused by a series of campaigns being cancelled because of the catastrophic Queensland floods at the start of the year.

Stephen Forth, MD of Banjo Brisbane, has taken on the new role of MD of Sapient Nitro’s Brisbane office. Several of Banjo’s Brisbane based clients have also moved across with him.  

Forth told Mumbrella that the decision taken by the board of Banjo, which is backed by John Singleton and Mojo co-founder Alan Johnson, was an understandable one. He said: “We’ve closed the office now. The market was tough for a small company.

“The Brisbane market is picking up now and it looks like there’s a bit of activity. An agency with good resources and people will do well in this market place.”

Speaking of Banjo, Forth said: “The board decided to invest in Sydney. What does not work in this market is resourcing out of Sydney for a Brisbane agency.”

He said the parting of the ways had been a completely amicable decision. Before his stint with Banjo, Forth was MD at Clemenger BBDO Brisbane and prior to that George Patterson.

Banjo boss Andrew Varasdi told Mumbrella: “We were really happy with the client list we were able to establish in Brisbane, but the market was pretty soft up there.

“We got hit pretty hard early this year with the floods and we’ve been trying to hang in there but the reality is a lot of the campaign activity was cancelled and did not come back. It was pretty much all project work.”

“We were three metres underwater and were not insured for some things.”

Varasdi said that some clients would still be serviced from Sydney. He said the Sydney office is about to grow its headcount from 36 people to 42.

 

The impact of the floods  on the Queensland advertising market was discussed at Mumbrella’s Brisbane question time earlier this year. Taking part in that forum, Forth said: “It’s caused a lot of disruption, we had a lot of delayed campaigns from a lot of clients.”

 

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