Zenith Optimedia becomes ‘the open agency’, Naked boss calls positioning ‘vague’

One of Australia’s most publicity-shy agencies has adopted a new positioning around the principle of being open.

At its Sydney offices last night, the new boss of Zenith Optimedia Ian Perrin announced that the Publicis Groupe media agency was to be “more open” in its approach to other agencies, media owners, trading, innovation and sourcing talent.

Zenith has been virtually anonymous since former CEO Belinda Rowe left in 2009, with regional boss Phil Talbot preferring for the agency to operate under the radar.

The agency boasts an enviable client list that includes NAB, Lion Nathan, Foxtel, News Limited and Qantas.

It is the first big move from Perrin, who joined from Naked at the end of last year. An early sign of his ambitions was the hire of the agency’s first chief innovation officer from creative agency BMF last month.

“Are we more open now? No. Are we working to become more open? Yes we are,” Perrin said.

The positioning is unique to Australia, and does not affect Zenith’s global branding as ‘The ROI agency’.

Perrin’s former colleague Mike Wilson, the chairman of Naked in Australia and New Zealand, called the new positioning “vague” and said that the two positionings come into conflict.

He told Mumbrella: “It’s very difficult for an agency to have two positionings and marry them together. It’s confusing for the market. ‘The ROI agency’ is narrow and deep, whereas ‘open’ is just too broad.”

Zenith was buoyed by the news yesterday that it is still in the running for Qantas, which could prove to be one of the biggest media reviews of 2012. The agency is facing OMD in a final shoot out.

According to the latest round of media billings from Nielsen, Zenith is Australia’s sixth largest media agency, billing between $440-$460.



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