Octagon takes a creative turn as agency expands into new space

IPG’s sponsorship and representation agency Octagon is expanding its horizons with the formation of a dedicated creative department and developing a full-service offer for clients.

Adam Hodge, Lizi Hamer, Ben Hartman, Andrew Clark and Matt Taylor

Adam Hodge, Lizi Hamer, Ben Hartman, Andrew Clark and Matt Taylor

The restructure is being put in place across the region, with the group relying heavily on its Sydney operations to drive the changes.

Adam Hodge, Octagon’s head of strategy for APAC, said the changing landscape had created an opportunity for the agency to find more ways to connect clients with consumers beyond sponsorship and celebrity and sports star endorsements.

“For us we are trying to find unique ways around earning people’s attention,” Hodge told Mumbrella.

“We are all battling for the same attention and for us to find a unique place around the things that people are most passionate about, we are investing in that. We are investing in terms of the research we do, we are investing in terms of the creative development.”

He said the while the business had always prided itself on knowing fans and sports “better than everybody else” it was time for the agency to grow beyond sponsorship.

“I think that that’s no longer enough. Everybody is investing in that, everybody says they understand passion, and for us it’s a combination of being able to understand and translate that into work that is going to earn attention.

“The investment we have had in a creative resource for the first time has been an evolution of our business where we have now got the seeds of a creative department and we will structure that differently to a traditional agency.”

milkmoneyIn September Octagon announced it had acquired a majority stake in content specialist, Milk Money, further expanding the agency’s capabilities and tapping into its creative output.

“It has fundamentally shifted how we behave,” Hodge said.

Lizi Hamer, who joined the agency as regional creative director in February, said that developing a creative stream within an agency that had traditionally seen the creative element developed by third party agencies would allow better ideas to flow through Octagon’s work.

“I think you have some incredibly smart people in the building already and it’s just tapping that in the right direction to make sure we come out with a complete campaign,” Hamer said.

She said Octagon’s unique relationship with talent also enabled the agency to approach projects in a unique way.

“They are never going to be actors and knowing that and making sure that the campaign is built with them – making use of that (opportunity) in a smart way,” she said.

At the same time she sees more opportunities for clients to leverage what Octagon has traditionally done through technology, bringing brands and fans closer together without actually forcing the relationship.

Along with Hamer taking taking the regional creative lead, Octagon has further refined its management team, with Ben Hartman managing APAC, Matt Taylor running Milk Money and Andrew Clarke operating as Sydney agency director.

Hodge said the evolution of the agency was keeping pace with the way in which marketers themselves were shifting, from the old hierarchy of a campaign that evolved from a TVC at the beginning to print, then digital and a sponsorship bought with money left over at the end.

“Most of our clients now are starting with experiences and going the other way so as a result we have just moved further up the chain, not through necessarily any active move by us, but the way that clients mare now looking at marketing is put the physical experience front and centre and then everything else hangs off that.

Campaigns which reflect the new vision of the agency include the ANZ Bank campaign featuring Novak Djokovic earlier in the year and Dove’s Journey to Strength featuring Wallaby David Pocock.


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