An open letter to the Adelaide Advertising and Design Club from Showpony Advertising

images_007.pngAdelaide creative agency Showpony responds to the AADC's response to the decision of the South Australian Tourism Commission to appoint an interstate agency


While we love your passion, on this particular issue you don't speak for Showpony Advertising.

In fact, we think that your press release regarding the decision of the SATC to appoint an interstate agency got it wrong.

Firstly, there are three South Australian agencies that were appointed to the SATC roster, including Showpony. The value of the tactical campaigns that make up this portion of the roster is currently unknown, but it could be significant as SATC have a breadth of stories to tell. Regardless of the dollar value allocated to tactical campaigns, we don't agree with your assertion that this portion of the account is merely "scraps from the Melbourne table".
Showpony has been appointed to precisely the share of the account that we tendered for. Your derision of that win undermines the hard work, care and enthusiasm of our staff - members of your organisation - and the very people you claim to represent.

You made it pretty hard for them to enjoy their win this week.

Secondly, this decision is hardly unprecedented. Tourism WA is with Cummins and Partners in Melbourne, Tourism Tasmania with JimJam in Sydney, Tourism Queensland, arguably one of the biggest tourism boards in the county is with JWT in Sydney and Tourism NT has long been held outside of the Northern Territory. Even the recent Tourism Australia Superbowl ad was the product of Droga5 of New York so SATC should be applauded for having resisted this trend for so many years.

Another precedent is the 2010 decision by SA Health to roster Perth agency, 303 Lowe, alongside Showpony. Amid the predictions of the death of the local industry, we got on with the job of responding to briefs and produced some of our best work including:
• Aboriginal Immunisation - closing the gap in immunisation rates for one year olds, winning a Gold Effie for effectiveness
• Waiting is not an Emergency - an online film that gained 14 million organic views and recognized at Clio and NY Festivals.
• Hands off our Ambos - precipitating a 42% drop in attacks on Ambos, recognised for creativity and effectiveness in NY and Cannes among others.

We proved our capability to out-perform the interstate competitors and now only South Australian agencies occupy the SA Health creative roster.

Our point is that the response to an account going interstate should be to do good work and win the business back. Or better still, export our creative work to other states as we did with the viral film, Hands off our Ambos, which was recut for Tasmanian television and aired on behalf of the Tasmanian Health Department.

It then won the AADC's Gold Chair for best in show for 2017.

Finally, the local advertising community must acknowledge that we now work in a bigger industry, in a much smaller world. It's not about South Australian versus interstate agencies anymore - that's an outdated mentality - it's about doing great work for clients based anywhere. Showpony's Hands TV campaign for Bridgestone Australia/NZ, has aired in a dozen countries around the world and SA Health's Waiting is not an Emergency online film had more views overseas than it did in Australia.

In 2016 we opened a Melbourne office to provide a base for our growing ambitions and have produced great work for Bendigo Bank, Regis Aged Care and Remedy Kombucha among many others. We hope to do some work for the Victorian government too.

We do this because we don't see the borders that AADC are so passionately protecting.

And in our opinion, that's the real challenge to South Australian business. Broaden your horizons and don't protect your boarders like some small-town Trump.

Just do good work.

4 Comments

b said:

WhileI completely agree with every single point you make, if you don't like the way volunteers from a local industry association are representing your industry, volunteer your time to run it the way you want it run.
Self-aggrandising open letters are one thing, putting yourself in the hot seat is another thing entirely.

Jamie said:

Dear b,
the role that volunteers play in building a community is very important and I appreciate the time and effort of everyone involved in the AADC. Generally speaking I'm a big fan of what the club does, but I disagree with their SATC press release.

To some, our letter was always going to look like self-promotion. We could have talked about Rising Sun Pictures, Kojo or Resin's success interstate and overseas. We could have mentioned Fusion's interstate work or Nation's Canberra office or KWP's office in Darwin. We didn't because we don't speak for those companies and it would have been pretty dumb of us to attach them to our letter while complaining about somebody else speaking on our behalf. But we had to illustrate the point...we seek work from interstate so we have to accept that it goes both ways.

What's more, had we not talked about our response to these challenges, we would be vulnerable to the question, "What are YOU going to do about it". So, consider it asked and answered.

As for my time in the hot seat, I was involved in the Communications Council for 10 years (SA Chair for the last three) and on the organising committee for Marketing Week for five years. These days we tend to focus outside our industry more with pro-bono work.

What a shock said:

The AADC Open Letter screams of a President who used to work for the business that lost it and was also on the board of the same business that cut affiliation ties with the agency who just won the majority of the work.. Bitter commentary. The AADC should be better than this. When handling complaints that work didn't win an AADC award, the club's response has always been (and rightly so) "Do better work". Same principals should apply here and the club should support the members that won work - terrible that Adelaide lost a major piece of business but it happens all the time everywhere. Well done to the 3 agencies that won parts of the business and everybody else - lift and win major work to SA - whether SATC or something else. Be better.

Two sides said:

SATC's decision to award their primary account to a Melbourne agency shouldn't diminish the wins for the secondary local agencies. It's a distraction and for that I can appreciate their frustration because they want to celebrate their win. And they should. But even if you put aside the Melbourne factor, a panel appointment is never a great situation because agencies want to feel that they have successfully proved their worth as the winner but now they have to announce their win while trying not to mention the other agencies who have also won. Now add to that, the fact that a Melbourne agency has been appointed as the lead agency and it's stirring up all kinds of controversy. You can't blame the local agencies who have won some new business for feeling annoyed that their moment in the sun has been clouded by that controversy. But you also can't blame South Australians for feeling annoyed that a large portion of the account and their industry has been sent interstate. So let's take a moment to celebrate how crap it is for everyone and then move on. It's done.

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