Ex-Grey GM and CD Randal Glennon and Nigel Dawson team up to launch Three Wise Men

threewisemen logoFormer Grey Melbourne general manager Randal Glennon and creative director Nigel Dawson have teamed up to launch independent communications consultancy Three Wise Men.

The third “wise man” is an unnamed silent agency partner and provides the premises and physical production resources and back end support to the new venture, which comes after Glennon and Dawson were let go from Grey Melbourne following the loss of the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) account.

Dawson and Glennon

Dawson and Glennon

“We could all thank TAC for finally getting us off our fat asses to finally do this,” quipped Dawson. “We’ve had endless conversations over the years about wanting to do our own thing given our experience and what we’ve done over the years and in fact it’s finally what happened earlier this year with TAC that forced the issue.”

Glennon had been with Grey as general manager for 13 years while Dawson had spent just over 17 years with Grey as a creative director.

Glennon said: “After a number of years of working together at Grey we thought we were in a position to maximise that experience to establish a niche agency in Melbourne.”

The agency aims to differ to other start-ups and niche agencies by offering experience and seniority.

“By our name it’s an indication to clients that they’re going to be dealing with experienced, senior people. Our point of difference will be you’re dealing with the principals,” said Glennon.

“I’ve got over 30 years management experience, Nigel over 30 years creative director experience. Our partner’s one of the most recognised creative’s in the country. We’re not going to be the new funky digital agency by a long stretch, but there’s a real, genuine role for serious clients who want very strong, strategic thinking translated into very effective advertising.”

Dawson added: “We can’t pretend to be very different to some of these start ups but the difference between all these agencies and ours is we’re more experienced. The difference is the two or three people who are leading these start ups.

“Life is complex, life in this business is complex. What we do do is try and simplify things down as far as we possibly can. We don’t want to make something that is already difficult more difficult, we want to get to the hub of it simply and solve that with an excellent creative solution.”

Having been closely associated with the TAC account during their time with Grey Melbourne, Dawson and Glennon have a lot of experience in the behavioural change area.

“We’ve built a reputation in the behavioural change area, and after those many years working on campaigns for TAC and WorkSafe,” said Glennon.

“We hope we will do well with government people who want powerful communications.”

Dawson added: “For the last 10 or so years we both ended up doing more behavioural change and government stuff than anything else but what that experience has done is its going to turn us into far better communicators for marketers of products than we would have been without this experience in behavioural change.

“It’s extraordinary what one’s learnt doing that can be reapplied back to marketers with a product or a service that needs to be sold. It’s taught us a huge amount about the way individuals react to messages and take them on board and change their behaviour.”

Along with the silent third partner, Glennon and Dawson have formed relationships with a cohort of specialists they are able to call on at need.

“We have a silent partner. He might be the wisest man. He’s backed us and provided us with office accommodation and back end resource which is fantastic and allows Nigel and I to do what we want to do,” said Glennon.

“The great thing about becoming an independent is you can chose who you want to work with a) in clients and b) in strategic partners.

“We have formed alliances with a digital group, a PR agent, a branding specialist, a planning specialist, an event management and brand activation specialist. They’re all part of our cohort, we like to think we’re the catalyst of our clients to call on these other partners. They don’t carry the overhead of having them under the one stable, we call them as required so it gives us more flexibility. Being fleet of foot is a bonus for some clients.”

The partnerships “are all non-exclusive” with Glennon and Dawson preferring to keep them “commercial in confidence” at this stage.

They agency has launched with one client, a small insurance company the duo declined to name, with the agency also already pitching on a number of tenders.

“Some breakaways might take a client with them, we weren’t in that luxurious position. We have one small client which is terrific, it’s a small insurance client. A lot of the project work we’ll be getting from other connections,” said Glennon.

“When we talk to prospective clients, we’re happy to do project work on what they might see at their ‘problem child’ – something they’d like to get a mature, experienced point of view on.”

Three Wise Men do not have any aspirations to be huge, wanting to retain their niche status.

“Inevitably as a niche specialist we want to remain small. We have no aspirations to become giant. We have been in this business long enough to know what we know and how we can bring a day to our clients and work with clients who value us and our contribution,” said Glennon.

Dawson added: “I don’t want to be big. We want to have sustainable incomes for us all, I don’t think there’s any way we intend to end up as an agency with 50 people.”

Miranda Ward


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