Coles’ bespoke outfit Smith St launches with talent from Big Red

The lead on Big Red’s Coles account for the past 12 years, and its chief retail officer, Tristan Alexander has joined its bespoke agency, Smith St as chief operating officer.

He joins the bespoke team, which includes staff from DDB, TBWA, OMD, and Deloitte Digital, to run its day-to-day operations.

Alexander joins Smith St as COO

Mumbrella understands Alexander is one of around 10 Big Red staff to have joined Smith St, with Alexander highly regarded by Coles, after leading the account for the entirety of its stay at Big Red, while also working with the retailer at DDB prior.

As part of a nine-month transition period, Big Red has rebalanced its business model, with many of its Coles team either moving onto the AGL account, moving on from the agency to new opportunities (some Smith St), and a very small number made redundant.

Coles/Smith St and Alexander were contacted for additional comment by Mumbrella.

Founder and creative chairman of Big Red, Ted Horton told Mumbrella: “Coles was a wonderful Big Red client for 12 years.”

“The longevity and success of that relationship was the natural by-product of always working together as partners and the dedication of our Coles team, many of whom will continue their Coles journey at Smith St.”

“We wish them, Smith Street and Coles all the very best.”

Coles is currently looking to fill its two most senior marketing roles, following the departure of Lisa Ronson and Sam McLeod in the second half of 2022, shortly after the creation of Smith St.

In its reveal in Mumbrella, the Smith St board included agency execs Peter Horgan, Sian Whitnall, Kimberlee Wells, Nike Napolitano, and Katherine Battle-Shulz, as well as Ronson, McLeod and Kate Bailey from Coles.

Smith St is now fully in operation, following the launch of Coles’ Christmas campaign in November, building on its ‘Value the Australian Way’ platform.

2022 was a big year for the retailer, also launching its own retail media setup, Coles 360.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.