DDB Sydney: Mumbrella Creative Agency Review – solid year for a big player with ‘stickability’

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

With nearly 50 years between them at DDB, chairman and CEO Marty O’Halloran, group MD Chris Brown and MD Leif Stomnes have been charting a steady, prosperous path for the Sydney office. Built on four pillar clients – McDonald’s, Telstra, Tourism Australia and Volkswagen – DDB Sydney has a reputation as a large (around 240 people work in the DDB building), solid, outfit that produces consistent, effective work.

One panellist notes: “DDB Sydney has an inner confidence that benefits clients time after time. There have been changes, but changes for the better, and some great new talent has come in. There’s a confidence in them always being there no matter what – a resilience and stickability about their brand.”

Another adds: “Great all round professional firm. Superb senior management and planning talent. Needs a lift creatively.”

Matt Eastwood, the agency’s former ECD, might have been missed since he moved to New York. But the arrival of Dylan Harrison, who worked for a decade at the London office, has helped the agency push on. The highly-awarded ECD’s touch is evident in recent work for Volkswagen and Telstra, in particular.

But it is effectiveness that sees the agency go really well in our survey with its highest rank – fourth – while creativity ranks a relatively lowly tenth. DDB Sydney also scores relatively poorly for integration and management, although there has been considerable change at the agency regarding the latter.

Under the code name ‘Project Dylan’ (because Times, they are a-changin’), DDB split its account management function into two – a project manager would handle the admin and process, leaving the business manager to focus on the relationship with the client.

Despite the agency scoring very well – sixth – for client stability, there have been losses. Energizer, Continental and Austar went, although the former two were a result of global realignment. But more has come in through the front door, with E*Trade, Olympus, Telstra Brand and Tourism Queensland rounding off another good, if unspectacular year for DDB Sydney.

To read more about DDB Sydney, 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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