Opinion

Droga5 Sydney: a timeline of its work

In the wake of Droga5 announcing its plans to close its Sydney office, we look back at the agency’s seven year history and the work the agency has produced in that time. 

Droga5 launched in 2008, founded by Saatchi & Saatchi ECD David Nobay, Widen + Kennedy strategic planning director Sudeep Gohil and Marianne Bess.

The agency’s first big account win came in the form of Carlton United Breweries’ Victoria Bitter, a win which saw the agency go from “three people a dog in a garage to 12 people overnight“.

In March 2009 the creative agency got people talking when it tapped rapper Vanilla Ice for a campaign for Virgin Mobile.

This wasn’t Droga5’s first piece of work having already produced some ads for VB Gold in 2008 and also did the launch campaign for V Australia.

In July 2009 Droga5 launched this campaign for Victoria Bitter in which it ditched its ‘hard earned thirst’ tagline.

May 2010 saw the agency working with Virgin Blue, preparing it for its later relationship with national airline Qantas, with the agency creating a campaign to promote Virgin Blue’s mobile check-in service, Check-mate.

In April 2011 the agency launched Victoria Bitters’ charity campaign ‘Raise a Glass ‘ to coincide with Anzac Day.

The same month saw the agency launch an Anzac Day campaign for Telstra.

In February 2012 Droga5 lost foundation client Victoria Bitter, Crown Lager and Cascade to Clemenger BBDO Melbourne however in March the agency picked up what would be one of its greatest accounts, winning the Woolworths creative account from M&C Saatchi.

In April 2012 Droga5 released another Victoria Bitter ‘Raise A Glass’ campaign for Anzac Day. It was one of the agency’s final campaigns for the account.

Droga5 then relaunched Woolworths in June that same year, updating the slogan from “the fresh food people” to “Australia’s fresh food people”. The same month saw the agency score a coveted spot on the Qantas roster.

June 2012 also saw the agency enter the branded content space. It worked on Cadbury and MTV’s The Cadbury Boosted Inspiration Series, producing a campaign which centred around a three-part documentary series entitled Meme Myself and I created by the duo behind the Bondi Hipsters in collaboration with Droga5.

Based around the idea of people who “seek to start stuff,” the documentary series features the creators of fictitious online memes, beginning with Thomas Mai, the brains behind Meowbook, a social network for cats.

The same month saw co-founder Marianne Bess announce her plans to return to the US.

In August the agency and its former client VB were locked in a blame game over who was responsible for managing the brand’s Facebook page which fell foul of the ad watchdog over sexist and homophobic comments.

That same month the agency work with Beyonce Knowles on a United Nations campaign for World Humanitarian Day.

In October Droga5 turned back to Woolworths, releasing a Christmas spot featuring a comical father and son bantering over the best way to cook a ham.

In June 2013 Droga5 unveiled its first major campaign for Qantas after picking up the account a year before. It featured a replica of NASA’s Mars rover “Curiosity” to promote it’s frequent flyer program.

The tide started to turn for the agency in August 2013 when it was reported Droga5 had been quietly taken off retainer with Telstra.

That same month it launched its first work for Sunbeam.

October saw the agency have some fun with Lynx.

It wasn’t until December 2013 that Droga5 released its first brand campaign for the airline.

January 2014 saw ECD Cam Blakley depart the agency for BMF.

Bad luck struck in March 2014 when it lost its lead creative agency status on its largest account Woolworths. Just days later the agency announced Steve Coll’s appointment as ECD.

The agency’s luck continued to worsen in April 2014 when it lost its lead agency status on some Cadbury chocolate and biscuit brands as Mondelez has consolidated the brand’s account with Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney.

May saw the agency lose the Sunbeam account to rival The Works, the month also saw the agency release its first work on Tiger Beer in the Asian market.

And in July ING Direct parted ways with the agency, appointing Soap as an interim creative agency while it held a pitch process.

October saw Droga5 release its final piece of work for Mondelez after the account was consolidated with Saatchi & Saatchi in April with a campaign for Cherry Ripe.

In March 2015 Droga5 worked with digital agency With Collective on a Qantas Frequent Flyer campaign.

July this year saw ECD Steve Coll depart the agency for a position with the With Collective. At the time Droga5 Sydney CEO and partner Sudeep Gohil admitted the agency has failed to live up to the reputation forged from its flagship New York office.

In July Droga5 revealed it was behind the latest iteration of the Share a Coke campaign which has been rolled out in Vietnam, using the language of emoticons instead of names on the side of bottles.

Just last month the agency invested funds into startup incubator Startmate as it looks to tap into new creative and technological expertise and “shake the agency out of its comfort zone

And in September the agency announces the closure of its Sydney office.

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