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M&C Saatchi and Digitas handed Tourism Australia’s creative and digital accounts

M&C Saatchi and Digitas have won the creative and digital accounts for Tourism Australia, Mumbrella understands.

The result, which comes eight months after the creative account first went to pitch, is a huge win for M&C Saatchi, adding Tourism Australia to its client list, which includes Lexus, Commonwealth Bank, Woolworths and Plush.

M&C Saatchi’s win comes after the agency lost its place on Optus’ creative roster and closed its retail division 1440.

Earlier in the year the agency also merged its PR arm Hidden Characters into M&C Saatchi Sports & Entertainment.

It comes at a loss for incumbent, Clemenger BBDO, who has held the account since 2013, and DT – now known as  AKQA – which won the digital creative services tender at the time. Clemenger BBDO won the contract from DDB in 2013. The agency’s contract will expire on December 31.

Tourism Australia launched the tender earlier this year

It marks a return to the Tourism Australia brand for M&C Saatchi, the agency behind the controversial ‘Where the Bloody Hell are Ya’ campaign. Tourism Australia dropped the agency in 2008, three years after it won the contract.


Tourism Australia has run a number of campaigns this year, including a huge international marketing push, leveraging off the Super Bowl.

The campaign initially appeared as a movie trailer for a Crocodile Dundee sequel starring Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Danny McBride and was created by Droga5. The trailer was then extended into a ‘Why Australia’ content series.

Clemenger BBDO was later involved in a campaign for South and South East Asia, while Thinkerbell launched a new version of the Crocodile Dundee work.

Meanwhile, in July last year, Tourism Australia appointed One Green Bean as its PR agency of record.

Mumbrella has approached Clemenger BBDO, AKQA and Digitas for comment. M&C Saatchi and Tourism Australia declined to comment.

UPDATE 11/12/18: 

Tourism Australia has confirmed M&C Saatchi is its lead creative agency of record while Digitas and incumbent digital agency ASAP+ have won its digital, CX and technology accounts.

In a statement to Mumbrella, Tourism Australia said: “Digital is the real battleground in today’s world of destination marketing and we attach huge importance to our digital assets and the huge global footprint they give us.

“Both Digitas and ASAP+ demonstrated a real understanding of our target customer, both globally and in China, and identified where we can engage most meaningfully with them on their digital journey. They showed us a compelling vision and a clear pathway to execute it.

“I think Tourism Australia has set a pretty high benchmark in recent years with its marketing work and the brief we put together for this tender was very much about building upon that. The calibre of responses we received was exceptional.

“In the end, M&C Saatchi proved to be the stand-out agency in terms of their strategic and brand thinking as well as the culture and operating model we wanted for our business.”

ASAP+ will handle all digital services for Tourism Australia in China.

Lisa Ronson, CMO at Tourism Australia, added: “Digitas and ASAP+ certainly tick those boxes as our new global digital partners. We see them playing a key role working alongside M&C Saatchi and our media services agency UM in helping to integrate our brand narrative across all digital touch points.”

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