Year In Review: March – Goodbye to Google’s boss; Job cuts; Christopher Walken signs up for Qantas

2016 was another year of major change and transformation in the media and marketing world. Mumbrella provides a month-by-month recap of the most read and biggest stories that affected the industry.

It was a positive start for March, with Saatchi & Saatchi’s OPSM campaign named the most effective in the world by Warc.

The agency’s work involved a storybook, ‘Penny the Pirate,’ designed to test children’s eyes while they read it, causing thousands to get their eyes checked and increasing OPSM’s eye tests by 22.6% year on year.

penny the pirate OPSM

The book was also used by a non-for-profit organisation OneSight to help test children’s eyes in remote and rural Australia.

It was the icing on the cake for Saatchi & Saatchi who picked up  two Cannes Lions in the Direct category earlier this week and a Silver in Mobile.

March quickly took a turn with job cuts, people moves and strikes throughout the month to send ripples through the industry.

Google Australia’s boss Maile Carnegie stepped down after almost three years to join ANZ as head of digital.

Google Australia CEO Carnegie

Carnegie: from Google to ANZ

Karim Temsamani, president of Google Asia Pacific described Carnegie’s contribution as “outstanding.” “Her enthusiasm for transforming the digital community is contagious, and I will really miss working with her,” Temsamani said.

Days later, Andrew Holt, managing director at Clemenger BBDO Sydney left the agency after 18 months in his role.

Holt had been with Clemenger group for seven years, working mostly in Wellington with clients such as Dolmio, Toshiba and Whiskas.

Andrew Holt clemenger

Holt: out in a reshuffle

Telstra re-structured its marketing division in the same week, removing consumer lead Inese Kingsmill and segment marketing director Andy Bateman’s roles from the team.

It wasn’t long before Junkee Media pledged to ditch its display ads and support itself solely through native advertising.

The decision was made after research conducted by the company reported 55% of Australian millennials were using ad-blockers.

The month also saw Ian Thorpe consider legal action after the front page of The Daily Telegraph reported him refusing a ‘pill-like’ object from a friend.


One of the bigger announcements of the month was the departure of Nine Entertainment Network’s chief revenue officer,Peter Wiltshire, after 10 years.

Wiltshire described his 10 years at Nine as a “privileged experience” that gave him some “extraordinary corporate challenges”.


At the same time, Nine announced director of sales, Michael Stephenson would be promoted as chief sales officer.

March was also the month Mumbrella revealed Coles Supermarkets had made significant cuts to spending on newspapers and magazines.

The supermarket chain’s spending collapsed from an estimated $462,000 for January/February 2015 to $34,000 this year.colesrevised_720

However, the biggest news of the month wasn’t until the announcement Fairfax Media had cut 120 editorial jobs between The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

The series of redundancies was announced through email by Sean Aymler, Fairfax Media editorial director.

The email read: “We will shortly enter a consultation period with staff and the MEAA on a proposal to reduce costs across News and Business in the Sydney and Melbourne newsrooms by the equivalent of 120 full-time employees.

“We believe that we can do this through redundancies, tightening contributor budgets and reducing travel costs and expenses.”


As a result, Fairfax journalists planned to strike until the following Monday, with 115 of 118 staff in the Sydney Morning Herald newsroom voting to walk out.

Staff from The Age, Canberra Times, WA and Brisbane Times all voted to walk out following the SMH.

On the same day, News Corp confirmed the departure of Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein and appointed the joint head of News Corp, Peter Tonagh, to the position.

Adland’s sexism debate was brought back to life as the end of the month approached, with M&C Saatchi’s CEO defending its all-male global board.

David Kershaw told Campaign in the UK that making a woman a non-exec wouldn’t “change the world”.

However, the month finished strongly with Qantas launching its new health insurance offering with a spot starring Hollywood star Christopher Walken.


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