Oddfellows: Mumbrella Creative Agency Review – driven by Toyota and looking likely to merge

MCAR coverThe newly published Mumbrella Creative Agency Review examines Australia’s top 30 ad agencies. Today Robin Hicks examines how Oddfellows has fared over the last 12 months.

It has been suggested that Oddfellows is a curious choice for our top 30. Described by one panelist as “not the most exciting agency in town”, Oddfellows is known almost exclusively for its trusty Toyota relationship. Little is ever heard from the agency, which seems happy with its reputation as a no-nonsense grafter that keeps its head down.

There are other clients at the agency of 40 staff, among them the Australian Egg Corporation, Corporate Express and Indonesian airline Garuda. But the focus, as has been the way for the agency’s 23 years of existence, has been dutifully servicing its founding client with hard-working retail advertising.

One panelist notes: “Oddfellows is so dominated by Toyota that it’s difficult to assess. That said, its relationship with Toyota is one of the most enduring in Australia and the work they do appeals to the dealers and delivers for the client.”

Work for the carmaker is well known for driving foot-fall into dealerships, which is also reflected in Oddfellows’ high score in our survey for effectiveness. A key strength is that one of the most highly regarded CGI studios in the region, Rotor Studios, is housed in the same building. This has helped deliver high quality work and cement its solid position on the Toyota roster.

Unsurprisingly, Oddfellows gets by far its highest score in our survey for client stability. This stability was tested in February with the entry of Dentsu, which handles Toyota in its home market. The two agencies share an office in North Sydney, and it seems inevitable that the two will merge, although Oddfellows – whose staff talk of working in a family atmosphere – insists it will remain independent.

Also an agency that doesn’t like to make a fuss, Dentsu would appear to make a good cultural fit. Although Oddfellows is unable to buy and sell media as Dentsu does back home, their everything-under-one-roof full service offerings are similar in approach if not scale.

In Dentsu, Oddfellows would have the resources and reach of the world’s largest agency brand. Even for a management team that seems to lack a sense of adventure, saying no at the top of one of 70 elevators in the Jean Nouvel-designed Dentsu building in Tokyo must be an increasingly hard thing to do.

To read more about Oddfellows, including full details on how it was scored by both our expert panel and Mumbrella’s own readers, to view examples of the agency’s work and read its own assessment of its performance, buy a copy of the Mumbrella Creative Agency Review priced at $75. The book features an assessment of the country’s top 30 ad agencies. To buy the book, click here.


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