FCB bosses say there are no plans for brand to return to Australia

Edward Bell and James Mok at Spikes today

Edward Bell and James Mok at Spikes today

Newly rebranded creative agency FCB has no plans to re-enter Australia or Hong Kong; an agency’s market presence should not be swayed by the “ego” of putting flags on a map, the agency’s APAC executive creative director James Mok said today.

Talking to Mumbrella at the Spikes Asia event in Singapore, the New Zealander said: “Where agencies have a market presence should not be about ego, it should be about smart business. The flags on a map strategy is dangerous, because it forces you to spend money when you don’t have to,” Mok said.

FCB, which dropped the ‘Draft’ from its name in March to restore the 141 year-old agency brand, closed its Melbourne operation in September 2012after losing lynchpin client Honda to Leo Burnett. It pulled the brand out of Sydney, bringing to an end two decades of operations in Australia, at the start of July this year. All clients and staff were transferred to AJF Partnership.

“Clients do not care whether an agency is branded FCB or not. They care about relationships with the right partner. Our partnership with AJF makes good business sense,” he said. “We have a brilliant partnership with them.”

FCB closed its Hong Kong operation in December last year, moving its business into the agency’s Greater China and Indonesian operations.

Reflecting on the move, Edward Bell, the CEO of FCB Greater China, told Mumbrella: “Hong Kong is a shrinking market. There are local clients, but the market is not exploding. The focus for us had to be mainland China, and the Hong Kong office just wasn’t performing.”

FCB's new logo

On the potential of re-opening in Hong Kong one day, Bell said: “We will always be open for the opportunity. For sentimental reasons it would be nice for me, as I used to live there. But the number one focus is on mainland China, and we want to hold that focus.”

FCB’s new strategic focus and positioning, led globally by Carter Murray, who took the role as global CEO a year ago, is based around unlocking the hidden potential in clients, Mok explained.

The agency has 8,000 staff globally and clients including Mondelēz, Beiersdorf and Levi’s.

Robin Hicks at Spikes Asia


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