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‘Now was the right time’: Banter co-founders become sole owners after eight years

Specialist brand experience and engagement marketing agency Banter has entered the second half of 2024 as a fully independent agency, buying out investor, partner and mentor, Judi Hausmann.

Co-founders Paul Den and Mitchell Loadsman always knew they wanted to do something themselves, and upon meeting Hausmann, they found a perfect way to “try their own destiny”.

After hanging up the boots at IPG’s Ensemble, the duo launched Banter in 2016 in partnership with Hausmann’s communications group The Haus. Den and Loadsman were able to learn from her, and where necessary, fall on The Haus’ resources, offering and technology.

Speaking exclusively to Mumbrella, Den told Mumbrella the deal was always to buy her out eventually, and now felt like the right time.

“Judi is such an inspiring leader. I have nothing but positive things to say about her,” he said. “Judi was very big on empowering us to not only build a future, but then preserve it. And after eight years, we’re in a good spot and we both agreed that now was the right time.”

(L-R): Mitchell Loadsman and Paul Den

The past eight years have seen the agency work with big local and global brands including Qantas, Volkswagen, Nespresso, Priceline Pharmacy, EA Sports, PPG, CMC Markets, Cadbury, Tinder and Netflix. From events and activations, like a recent pop-up playground it created for the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation, to brand partnerships, to larger-than-life stunts, Banter seems to have done it all.

While Den acknowledged that going independent and being sole business owners comes with more risks and different challenges, he said the agency has sustainable plans in place to continue its momentum.

“We’re diversifying our work,” he explained. “We’ve recently grown our B2B offering picking up projects with TikTok and Cartology, we’re doing a whole heap of activations and events for brands, we’re growing in our sponsorship and digital space, and there’s a lot going on, but, at the heart of it is that engagement marketing that we really focus on. It’s where we set out to be different.

“Traditional advertising is about pushing a message out to hope people pay attention, and whilst it is really effective, it’s become compromised by media fragmentation and the proliferation of technology – ad avoidance is at an all time high.”

So while people are less connected to advertising, Den said they are still connecting to brands – just in a different way.

“That’s where we come in, helping brands by having much more of an engagement lens to what they’re doing. And that’s what we will continue focusing on, and building, in this new era.”

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