McCann Sydney appoints Clemenger BBDO’s Ben Coulson as chief creative officer

Ben Coulson, the former chief creative officer of Clemenger BBDO Sydney, has joined McCann Sydney as CCO.

When speaking about his new role Coulson said McCann is “a damn interesting proposition at the moment.”

‘McCann is a damn interesting proposition’: Ben Coulson

“I was hit with a pang of jealousy when I heard about Ben Lilley’s acquisition and plans for McCann Australia a few months ago. He has a unique thing going on, building a fully independent agency backed by the hottest network in the world right now,” Coulson said.

“Ben’s passion for the McCann brand, his ‘creative first’ approach to business, and the talented group of people he’s assembling is genuinely exciting, at a time when there isn’t much new news on the Australian agency landscape.

Ben Lilley, the former CEO of McCann Australia, returned to the agency in February as its new owner and creative chairman.

Coulson takes over from Darren Spiller, who became CCO of McCann Sydney in April last year. Spiller now lists himself on LinkedIn as ‘self-employed’ as a CCO.

Coulson will be leading the creative output for McCann Sydney’s clients Coca-Cola, MasterCard, Microsoft, Menulog, Nestlé and Sanofi. He will also work with national chief creative officer Pat Baron on key national creative clients.

Coulson said: “McCann has a strong client base and brands that deserve standout work. Plus they’re a very decent bunch of folk to go to work with every day. I’m very grateful to Ben, Pat and the gang at McCann for the opportunity to be part of something with such positive momentum.”

Baron said Coulson was a ‘deep thinker and innovator’.

“Ben Coulson’s a great human who I’ve admired and respected for years and whose career and campaigns speak for themselves. He has an extraordinary track record of creative excellence that’s been celebrated both globally and at home in Australia,” Baron said.

“An originator, deep thinker and innovator, it’s not surprising Ben is also one of Australia’s most popular creative leaders. His move to McCann Australia is good news for not just our clients but for our people too. We’ve still got a lot of work to do here, but I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

Coulson spent three years at Clemenger BBDO Sydney, departing in March. Prior to that he was executive creative director and later CCO of Y&R (now part of VMLY&R).

Lilley said: “Pat and Ben and I have all grown up together in adland and over the years we’ve often talked about one day working together; I couldn’t be happier that day has finally come. Together Pat and Ben make a pretty exciting creative leadership team, with a formidable creative and effectiveness legacy between them. Anyone who knows them also knows they’re just really nice guys too.”

McCann Sydney announced it is also still hiring in account management and senior strategy roles


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