Mumbrella’s top 50 read stories of 2022

Our readers have spoken: here's a rundown of the most-read stories of the year on Mumbrella. From features, exclusives, breaking news, big moves, op-eds, and several appearances from Dr Mumbo - 2022 provided it all.

50. Redundancies at Cummins&Partners 

Shortly after returning to Aussie, Michael McConville was appointed as new CEO at the independent full service agency, and it made cuts ‘in the region of 10’ as part of a restructure. C&P isn’t the only one that has had to, or even on this list.

49. Australian retail media: ready for lift off as Coles takes the game to Woolies
Woolworths beat most off the mark in launching Cartology three years ago, very quickly eating up share in the retail media sector. Coles surprised the sector early this year by luring across former media agency exec, and Nine sales director Paul Brooks to launch its unnamed offering (later Coles360), with a slew of other (largely dentsu) talent to follow. For a sector in its very earlier stages, this feature offered a snapshot into the retail media world, and what the market can take from its explosion in like-for-like markets overseas.

Paul Brooks’ arrival to launch Coles’ retail media offering signalled a big kick-off for the sector in Australia.

48. Agencies jockey for position as Entain Group pitches combined mega Ladbrokes and Neds account
The second major gambling firm to take its media account to pitch this year, after Bet365 ended up taking its business to independent, Rvalmedia. This pitch saw incumbent Essence face off against Zenith, PHD and Atomic 212 to land the dual-Ladbrokes and Neds account. It was ultimately another indie that came out on top, with Atomic 212 securing the deal.

47 News Corp Australia makes 15 job cuts, plus further voluntary redundancies
In August, the MEAA issued a statement that News Corp had made 15 jobs redundant across its news titles including the The Australian, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, News Network and COPE. The company declined to say why, however director of media at the industry union, Adam Portelli told Mumbrella: “These redundancies came with no notice, no consultation, and no respect.”

46 Virgin Australia kisses nice goodbye with new brand platform from Special

New brand platforms from Australia’s biggest two airlines are bound to attract attention, and this new platform via Special for Virgin Australia ‘Bring on Wonderful’ was no different.
45 Grahame Morris, chair of WPP govt relations firm in hot water over trans comments

The chair of Barton Deakin, WPP governmental relations firm, Grahame Morris landed himself in the middle of a self-made mess after making a series of controversial comments on national TV, smack bang in the middle of a federal election cycle. WPP distanced itself from Morris in a statement to Mumbrella, and he later parted ways with the company.

44 Redundancies at AJF as changes take shape under new leadership
Already the third on this list relating to job cuts. This time part of an end-of-year flurry, which has seen several agencies laying off a number of staff. Managing director of AJF Partnership, Con Frantzeskos told Mumbrella this was part of a restructuring at the agency, which is moving in reponse to client needs. Watch this space for further details to come.
43 Media agencies weigh in on Netflix’s $6.99 ad-supported tier in Australia
Netflix was, to many, surprisingly quick to do a 180 on its pledge to ‘never have ads’ on its platform, as it became the first to launch an ad-supported plan in November at a cut rate of $6.99. Mumbrella got the lowdown on the new plan in this feature, and spoke to some media agencies to get their take on investing on the platform.

The streaming giant was the first SVOD service to locally launch an ad-offering, much to the delight of marketers.

42 Nickie Scriven resigns from Zenith; rumours swirl of move to Dentsu
While Mumbrella did deliver the news of Nickie Scriven’s departure from the Publicis agency after seven years, the rumour mill turned out to be a sniff in the wrong direction on this one. Scriven took some time out before launching her own business X , before she was later replaced by Jason Tonelli, who recently led the successful re-launch of Razorfish in Australia.
41 MAFS launch lowest audience in 4 years on FTA, but beats premieres of Survivor and The Voice: Generations
A true measure of the declining impact of linear TV. Despite what could only be considered a smash hit of the tennis for Nine in January this year, Married at First Sight launched to its lowest audience in four years, yet continued to outperform its competitors during its run.
40 Double agent: Creative fired after Omnicom agencies bust his hustle

Dr Mumbo’s first appearance on the list. Not much to add on this one other than if you haven’t read the tale of the Colombian Double agent, it’s worth clicking the link above.

Dr Mumbo goes abroad

39 Whose work is it anyway? Are ad execs right to show off past work on their current agency website?

Another feature, and tied for most commented-on piece on Mumbrella this year. This one looked at the merits of new start-up agencies, and individuals displaying work and awards on new websites that had been won by/at other agencies. How much is too much?
38 Lizzie Young departs Nine for advertising start-up

Nine’s managing director for local markets and group marketing, Lizzie Young caught the industry by surprise in March by leaving to join WeAre8, a new sustainable-focused social media startup. Young became the second senior exec to leave Nine following Mike Sneesby’s appointment as CEO a year prior.

Young left Nine to head up the local launch of WeAre8

37 Dentsu appoints ANZ CEO, Patricio De Matteis

The industry waited quite a while for dentsu to announce its local replacement for Angela Tangas as market CEO. De Matteis raised a few eyebrows by moving over to the Japanese holding group as one of its final few major appointments this year. Has a holding group ever seen so much change in a single year locally? As a bonus you can listen to the Mumbrellacast chat about that here.
36 Dentsu Australia losses total $23m in 2021 amid ‘transformation and simplification’

Another ‘transformation’ piece, this time at dentsu, which has been busy this year. The group posted losses of $54 million across 2020 and 2021 according to an annual audit completed by EY. The company told Mumbrella that transformation and simplification resulted in “one-off, non-recurring costs in FY20 and FY21”.
35 CMO Lisa Ronson: What the Coles expansion with Adobe means for marketers

Lisa Ronson, then-chief marketing officer of Coles spoke to Mumbrella about the retailer expanding its relationship with Adobe. The two companies first partnered in 2014, with Ronson this time saying “the primary reason we’re doing this is to create better customer experiences from an omni-channel perspective.”
34 Zara Curtis appointed acting-chief marketing officer at IAG

Months after the IAG chief marketing officer role became vacant, director of content and customer engagement, Zara Curtis was appointed as the insurance group’s acting-CMO. The news came alongside a new campaign via rostered agency, Bear Meets Eagle on Fire which has since been lauded across the industry.
33 What did Clive Palmer get for his $100m ad splurge?

Another in a handful of features on the list, this one broke down Clive Palmer’s well-documented election advertising splurge. Looking at how it stacked up against those that were tighter with their purse-strings, and how Aussies responded to the ‘discount store’ yellow, this piece broke through beyond Mumbrella’s readers, going viral across Twitter.

32 ARN makes all regional general manager roles redundant

Another job cuts story: the radio network made all of its regional GM roles redundant, as it told Mumbrella it was working “to develop a simple, effective, and agile organisational design that takes advantage of the broader resources of the ARN business”, following its acquisition of Grant Broadcasters.
31 Starcom Melbourne boss departs following a number of client losses

Starcom’s Melbourne GM, David Campbell resigned from the Publicis agency, less than a year after being appointed into his role. This came shortly after a number of losses for the agency, including Seek, Ego Pharmaceuticals, and Snooze all out the door in 2022.

Changes in Melbourne for Starcom

30 Woolies further in-housing; decouples creative and production after Hogarth partnership

Following news reported by Mumbrella the week before that WPP had exited the Coles pitch due to a conflict, rivals Woolworths revealed that it had partnered with the holding group’s production house, Hogarth as its agency of record for production of omnichannel content across social, digital, print, and audio content. The move spurred industry chatter that WPP would be angling for an expansion of its partnership with Woolies going forward.
29 Mark Richardson departs ALDI with former Westpac marketing boss Jenny Melhuish incoming

It is not often you get a departure and replacement in one fell swoop, but that is exactly what happened here as ALDI and Mark Richardson brought their almost-six-year relationship to an end. Richardson’s marketing team has been lauded for the work it has produced during his stint, and the German retail giant will be hoping it continues along that path with Jenny Melhuish at the helm going forward. Bonus content: the team chatted through Richardson’s legacy at ALDI, and looked at how it has eaten up share from its rivals across the past decade on the Mumbrellacast. 
28 NSW Government consolidates media account with OMD

This win for the Omnicom Media Group agency came in perhaps the most successful two-week stretch you’ll see from any agency in some time. Beating out UM to the consolidated NSW Government account in a process that lasted an entire year, OMD now holds both lucrative NSW and Victorian master media accounts.
27 Coles gets the extended family together for a very Aussie Christmas via DDB

After a very busy year, Coles’ Sam McLeod spoke exclusively to Mumbrella to launch its new Christmas ad for 2022, giving a taste of what is to come from its new Smith Street setup. “It’s been a few years since everyone’s had an opportunity to get together, so we wanted to make sure that one, we were representing what an Aussie Christmas is and looks like so people could see themselves in there, and we wanted something that delivers a little bit of joy and festivity,” McLeod said, just a month before she was on the out at the supermarket. 
26 Disney+ releases first wave of local content commissions with 9 Australian originals

Readers were eager to see what Disney was putting out in its first slate of local productions to launch across 2022 and 2023. In 2021, ACMA released figures that showed significant local investment from the SVOD market in Australia, and thes nine productions were no different, with all the titles set for domestic and international release across Disney+.

25 Todd Sampson’s warning: ‘These companies will do anything to get advertising in front of us’

Celebrity adman Todd Sampson spoke to Mumbrella ahead of the airing of his very own production on Network 10, Mirror Mirror: Love & Hate. Looking at how the internet is changing us, and what we can do about it, he said: “We’re reaching a kind of wake-up phase where people are seeing the correlation between mental health, suicide, and ADHD, and all of these things are now being related to and resourced around our internet usage.”

Sampson’s two-part series explored our obsession with internet usage

24 2022 F-List calls out top Australian agencies for climate polluters

The 2022 edition of the F-List, compiled by Clean Creatives and Comms Declare looked at advertising, media and PR agencies working with major climate-polluting partners. A local investigation saw Comms Declare name its most polluting agencies by partner client emissions, as founder of the organisation, Belinda Noble told Mumbrella: “Big Red won the big prize nobody wanted – AGL’s creative account.”
23 Publicis out of Coles pitch, internal marketers rallied for Big Red return, now out again

While Coles did move toward a final two in another twist in its bespoke pitch, it was its internal marketing team angling for a return of Big Red to the fold that caught readers’ attention. Coles brought the agency back for a ‘special pitch’, only to then knock it back once again.
22 Sue Squillace to depart Dentsu

Squillace was out at Dentsu after three years. Less than a year after being given the expanded Dentsu Media role, and a search for a Carat boss underway, Squillace departed as one of the many changes in 2022 at dentsu, only to later be replaced by Danny Bass. Bass would then bring in a number of well-known faces to bolster his executive team, and rebuild the media portfolio. 

Sue Squillace out and Bass as dentsu’s media boss

21 GroupM creates EssenceMediacom globally, Pat Crowley to lead merged 550-person agency

This would’ve been the biggest agency merger in most years, let alone in one that was short of them. GroupM reduced its key media agencies from four to three, appointing Pat Crowley to lead the outfit domestically, with Mediacom boss Yaron Farizon sent on his way back to headquarters in London. There have been a few key client departures so far, as most would expect, but many are watching closely for how the agency performs in 2023.

20 Media buyers weigh in on Nine’s big upfronts return

This one says it on the tin. Media buyers offer their take on Australia’s largest media company’s upfront. Check out what investors were thinking shortly after it presented its 2023 slate in a feature write-up here.

19 Liberal Party unveils one weird political ad to rule them all

Another entry from the estranged Dr Mumbo, they reported on a strange last-ditch campaign from the Liberal Party a week out from election day. The spot featured Albanese as Gollum, which was part of a couple of other odd ads on the Liberal Party YouTube page. However it wasn’t the only politcal party to use Gollum as a campaign trick, with Labor also running a social media post depicting Scott Morrison as the character too.
18 Woolworths’ Cartology to acquire Shopper Media for $150m

Cartology, the Australian market leader in retail media caught most off-guard in agreeing to a deal to purchase out-of-home provider Shopper. Details are still short on how the business will be woven into Cartology, but it’s a big move and one that will no doubt help Cartology solidify its position.

A big buy for Woolworths and Cartology

17 Australia’s top 10 most prolific chief marketing officers revealed

Media monitoring service Streem ranked Australia’s Top Ten most prominent CMOs based on visibility, with Tourism Australia’s Susan Coghill taking top spot with 117 mentions across print and online media between 1 November 2021 and 31 October 2022.
16 Updated: WPP exits Coles pitch due to conflict, Accenture Interactive invited at group level

A doubleheader here, and another to add to the Coles files. First Mumbrella got wind of WPP’s exit due to a conflict, which was understood to be a production deal between Woolworths and Hogarth, before Coles then invited Accenture Song to the party, taking it back to three alongside Publicis and Omnicom.
15 WPP the next to make redundancies ahead of 2023

WPP made a number of job cuts at a group level towards the end of the year, as look toward a restructuring of its resources. It’s understood that the company was also left with a number of duplicated roles following the completion of the buyout of WPP AUNZ. 
14 Full-service independent agency Lionize files for insolvency; administrators appointed

It has been a hard few years for many in the ad industry, and this story showed just that. Two years after being founded, indie full-service agency Lionze was filing for insolvency, reportedly owning multiple parties in excess of $5 million. Founder and CEO Mikey Taylor told Mumbrella would split and both him and co-founder Aaron Monks would continue to lead the two entities. The agency later completed its sale out of administration which Taylor called “a high-quality result for all of our creditors”.
13 Mumbrella Awards 2022 shortlist revealed, Thinkerbell secures 12 nominations

The Mumbrella Awards returned in person in 2022, with Thinkerbell leading the way with 12 nominations, followed closely by Special Group, The Monkeys and PHD.

12 Coles vs Woolies: Where to next in the supermarket wars?

The most read feature by our readers this year came shortly after Lisa Ronson’s departure at Coles. You can’t separate Coles and Woolies, as much as both would probably like the market to. This write-up broke down the marketing output from each across recent years, looking at what the battlegrounds have been, have become, and what matters most to each going forward.

11 April Fool’s Day 2022 round-up: Here we go again

Dr Mumbo, unfortunately, encouraged brands to once again indulge in April Fool’s activity next year by giving a round-up of the best and worst on offer this year. Brands included were ME Bank, Skittles and M&M’s, SEEK, Jimmy Brings, TimTams with Vegemite and more.
10 AFL agrees 7 year deal with Seven and Foxtel until 2031

Another of the media and marketing industry’s most talked about storylines of the year ended with the incumbents coming out top trumps. The AFL will have been the happiest party, however, reeling in a mouthwatering fee upwards of $4.5 billion, and locking in its partners until 2031.

Seven secured prime time ratings through to 2031 with a new deal with the AFL

9 Is there something in the PR water? Ask Roxy

Three big PR departures in a matter of moments…are they connected? Probably not. But Dr Mumbo had their say on it.

8 Perth creative agency called out for claiming other agencies’ work on its website

Mumbrella named the agency Steve Harris called out on LinkedIn as Wildling Creative, for claiming work created by Marketforce, Wunderman Thompson, and The Brand Agency as its own on its website. The debate began there, with Mumbrella later publishing its follow-up feature on the merits of startup agencies displaying its creative’s past work.
7 The only reason you should be getting back to the office is for you

The top op-ed by Mumbrella’s readers this year came via Adam Ferrier from Thinkerbell. This story was also tied for the most commented article, in a year that saw the return of comments on the website. Ferrier always gets people talking, and was no different as he picked up on one of the most opinionated topics this year: hybrid working.

6 Coles shelves others, carries on with Omnicom, brings in Deloitte for bespoke agency ‘Smith St’

After months of speculation over where Coles’ bespoke pitch would land, it came to the surprise of many that the supermarket giant had opted to stick with its incumbents while adding in Deloitte Digital to create its very own agency, Smith Street. This came two weeks after OMD secured the NSW Government account, which will have been reason for a few smiles at OMG headquarters. This was not the last we’d hear from Coles on the list, however.

Going back to its roots, Coles named its bespoke agency ‘Smith Street’, where it opened its first store.


5 Mumbrella Awards 2022: Hatched scores Media Agency of the Year as Thinkerbell wins Full Service second year in a row

In a packed out night at Sydney’s Royal Randwick, The Monkeys was crowned Creative Agency of the Year, while Hatched snatched the Media gong, with Thinkerbell going back-to-back in the Full Service category.
4 Ring, ring! Telstra nabs IAG’s chief marketing officer, Brent Smart

Some of the industry’s highest profile CMOs were on the move this year, with Smart this time moving from one of Australia’s top ASX-listed companies, IAG, to another in Telstra, with Jeremy Nicholas staying within the telco as its digital channels executive. Across his five years at IAG, Smart turned it into one of the most creatively driven brands in market.

3 Former Nova employees plan class action lawsuit, alleging claims of workplace misconduct

A number of former Nova employees signalled a class action lawsuit against the company owned by Lachlan Murdoch, Illyria Nominees Television. The story told details of alleged workplace misconduct including bullying, harassment, and discrimination. However Nova told Mumbrella it had not been served with any court documents, or was contacted by any legal firms.
2 Chris Laws, current MD of Enigma, accused of sexual misconduct in 2018 by Ella Campbell

Australia is yet to have its #MeToo moment as of yet, as many predicted it might come when Ella Campbell named Chris Laws in a LinkedIn post earlier this year. The Fair Work case has begun now in the Federal Court of Australia.

1 Lisa Ronson to leave Coles

Topping the list, this story combines one of the industry’s most high-profile marketers with a topic we’ve many times across this top 50: the supermarkets. Ronson’s move came very shortly after she and her team reappointed Omnicom as its agency partners, with the proximity raising eyebrows across all of Mumbrella’s readers. Coles had a busy year, and this was the biggest move of them all. Ronson was later followed out the door by one of her most senior hires during her tenure, Sam McLeod. 

Lisa Ronson’s departure from Coles took the cake for most read story on Mumbrella this year.


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