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Ikon Sydney goes full service with STW closing Moon Communications after 20 years

Mike Connaghan July 2014 (2)

Connaghan

Moon Communications has been shuffled into the Ikon Communications group as the media agency goes full service, Mumbrella can reveal.

The move sees staff from the Moon and Shift agencies moved into a newly formed Ikon Sydney Group, seeing the Moon brand disappear from the market after 23 years.

It comes two months after Moon’s biggest client Westfield moved to a bespoke agency model, taking staff from across the STW group, including Moon and Ikon, and moving them to a central team.

STW Group CEO Mike Connaghan said: “The market has clearly indicated to us that a full-service offering is an attractive proposition considering the massive structural change in our industry and current business climate.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 8.32.39 am“As a result, we’ve created a model that will see all our people in the IKON Sydney Group  – be they media or creative, data or digital, working together with the same objective in mind; outstanding results for the clients.  It makes sense – timelines will be streamlined, speed to market will be increased greatly. With media, creative, digital, social and content production all sitting in the one team, working together, creative excellence should also be increased exponentially.”

Separately STW’s digital creative agency DT is understood to have made around a dozen redundancies as it looks to reshape its business.

Yesterday Connaghan admitted the group, which has seen its share price halve over the last year (ASX: SGN), had been“let down by a few” agencies, adding “the leadership of those businesses has been changed”.

It is understood the poor share performance has seen more pressure put on STW agencies to improve performance, with Connaghan last year singling out new business wins as a key performance indicator for them.

The new group will be led by Ikon Sydney managing partner Pat Crowley.

Levinsohn

Levinsohn

Last week Moon CEO Gavin Levinsohn was named the new managing director of Publicis Mojo in Sydney. The South African took over at Moon from Anouk Darling, who moved on to focus on wider business interests last year.

When Levinsohn took charge other agency brands including Shift and Human were moved into the group. Shift managing director Iain Good moved to a business director role with STW Group in March according to his LinkedIn profile.

Shift came into being four years ago as the rebranded The Brand Shop.

Samantha Allen is still listed as managing director of ad agency Human on her LinkedIn profile, although it is unclear what has happened with the agency. (STW has since confirmed it is ‘business as usual’ for Human).

It is also unclear whether Moon’s New York office has also been shut. (STW has since confirmed the NY office is unaffected)

Moon was started in 1992 in Sydney as a design and brand agency, and has over the years represented clients including Qantas, launching the Jetstar brand for the airline, as well as Westfield and Vodafone. STW purchased the agency in 2006 and transitioned it towards more of a creative offering.

It opened a Melbourne office in 2009 but shut its doors just two years later citing the need to have its three staff in Sydney to be with the core group.

Crowley described the change as “the most exciting thing to happen to the Ikon business in its 16-year history”.

He added: “Over the past decade we have seen rapid change and a marketing world that has become increasingly complex.  Clients want simplicity in this environment.  The response to the full-service media model has been incredibly positive, and teamed with our client-focused approach, we believe Ikon is at the most exciting juncture in its business history.”

Separately DT has confirmed “some redundancies have occurred’ in the agency

Brian Vella, CEO at DT said in a statement: “In response to client needs and demand, as agencies periodically do, DT has restructured some components of its team. As a result some redundancies have occurred and a number of new roles have been created.

“Some staff have moved to other agencies within STW. In every case, DT has worked with affected staff and clients to ensure the transitions have been as least disruptive as possible.  DT continues to provide leading digital strategies and creative technology solutions to its clients.”

As part of the new model’s structure in Sydney, both STW Group CEO Mike Connaghan and STW Chief Strategy Officer Rose Herceg will sit on the new Ikon Sydney Group Management Board, along with senior IKON Sydney staffers Pat Crowley (Managing Partner), John Halpin (Head of Strategy), Rob Pardini (Chief Knowledge Officer), Bryan Magee (Chief Investment Officer), Natalie Musico (Head of Content and Production) and Rob Martin-Murphy (Executive Creative Director) who have been charged with leading the day to day management of the new one-stop full service agency.

Connaghan said he hoped the new business would also act as a magnate for top talent.

“We are looking to build a serious, modern-day fit-for-purpose, content driven newsroom plus a range of other capabilities required by modern day marketers to tackle the complex issues facing brands,” he said.

“To service this, we have been inundated with CVs from Australia’s best thinkers, writers, producers, media planners, social media and digital experts – all of whom want to work at a place where the effort is focused on doing great work.”

Alex Hayes

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