Former Clemenger agency boss James Neale latest to strike out alone with Activation Union 

Former Clemenger Group board member, and Traffik founder and CEO, James Neale has launched his own agency, Activation Union, Mumbrella can reveal.

The move comes almost a year after his exit from Traffik, and more than two decades within the group, during which time he led the agency’s growth and proposition, being one of the first experiential agencies in market.

Neale launches a new agency into the market

Activation Union launches today as an activation-led agency, leveraging a space that Neale said has “traditionally been very transactional”. 

“We strongly believe we can change that through great creativity and, most importantly, accountability,” said Neale.

“I am excited to launch a new agency with some amazing skillsets and exceptional talent as we drive impact and interaction through incredible – and measurable – experiences in both the real and digital world. Our approach is reflected in our name – Activation Union brings together specialists and defined skills to deliver measurable experiences that ultimately lead to action and purchase.”

The business will be organised by different divisions, including Live, Retail, Experiential and Loyalty, supported by Creative, Design and Tech, based out of a Sydney HQ. 

Neale’s agency is the latest independent on the Australian scene, after several years of leaders looking for opportunity outside of the traditional, market-dominating groups. 

Clemenger Group board member and CEO of CHEP Network, Justin Hind is also set to launch his own digitally-led agency later this year. 

Activation Union referred to its ownership structure as “entrepreneurial”, with founding managing partners taking equity in the business as the join too. 

This includes Joshua Anderson as managing partner of live, Activation Union’s event consultancy and production arm. The division will focus on “delivering interactive and reactionary experiences with high-end execution and consistent quality outputs”.

Anderson is a former colleague of Neale’s at Traffik, where he was national head of experiential production and live events. 

Neale said: “Our very different business structure enables true discipline ownership, ignites passion and drive from leaders directly invested in the business and most importantly encourages true entrepreneurial spirit. We’re launching with top class skill sets from day one. Not only does Josh bring a wealth of knowledge from a pure production perspective, but also the reputation as one of Australia’s best event consultants.”

There will be more appointments to be revealed in due course, the agency said.

Neale launched Traffik in 2001 for Clemenger Group, after initially being tapped to run the group’s sponsorship and events company, MM Communications. 

Eventually the agency grew to 60 staff, holding a client list including Diageo, Holden, P&G, Ikea and more, being appointed to Clemenger Group’s board in 2014, until his sudden departure in 2022. 

Neale also led Traffik’s overhaul of its brand positioning in 2019, to ‘Everything Activation’.

Yesterday, Clemenger Group appointed Lee Leggett to its board as she is set to join CHEP Network as its CEO. Leggett is one of three new board appointees, alongside Dani Bassil and Colenso’s Angela Watson.

During Neale’s break from the industry, he was part of an initial $1 million capital raise for Australian growth consultancy BeingIconic.


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