WA industry in shock as RAC swaps The Brand Agency for JWT Sydney after 21 year relationship

Comments (74)
Screen shot 2012-07-31 at 7.24.37 PM.jpgIn a shock for the WA industry the RAC has awarded its creative advertising account to JWT Sydney following a comprehensive and competitive tender process which included incumbent The Brand Agency, which has held the business for 21 years..

In order to service the RAC account, JWT will set up a new Perth-based office comprising a team of local experts.
The RAC commenced a formal tender process seeking a full service creative agency in March this year.

According to a statement released tonight, JWT impressed the panel throughout the process, providing outstanding responses to strategic and creative challenges.

Says John Gutteridge, CEO JWT Sydney: "To say we are incredibly excited to be working with the RAC WA, would be an understatement. The team at RAC have been utterly professional throughout the tender, but also very inspiring with their future ambitions for the RAC brand.
This is a historical moment for JWT, opening a new office doesn't happen every day.
We're excited about the future prospects in WA, the state is obviously experiencing exponential growth right now, with that comes opportunities."

JWT was assessed by the tender panel as providing a comprehensive range of skills and services and offered best value for money; effectively showcasing the advantages of being part of a global network, along with the benefits of a strong local presence at a competitive price.

The RAC has an excellent relationship with the team at The Brand Agency and the decision to move the account was not taken lightly. The RAC would like to sincerely thank The Brand Agency for their dedication and professionalism working with the RAC over the years.

The RAC would also like to thank all agencies involved in the tender for the commitment and enthusiasm they showed for the process.


Pete said:

"A team of local experts?"

2012 said:

Not a shock really...

wat said:

That's sad news. Well done to Brand - great job over the years.

Other source reader said:

According to other sources, the local office will be headed up by Nicole Gray

S said:

I will not be renewing my RAC membership.

Oh dear. said:

As I watch the 2000th viewing of the "Where's whoever " campaign as I sit here reading this news on my Ipad, I have to wonder why they didn't actually do some good ads to hang on to the account?

KJ said:

Those bloody Dockers! Distraction!!!!

Nowhere said:

Really? JWT? Nice work RAC. Hope that team of experts has some creative credential. JWT Sydney do not.

Friends said. said:

Nicole is our new leader.

Claire Voryant said:

I saw it coming.

I wear tracksuits if it's chilly. said:

If you do ploppy work you will eventually lose the business. No surprise. Staff changes ahead and a few surprising moves to JWT Perth.

Come on CB. said:

Any news on Nicole heading up Perth office?

Mid Dle said:

A former senior MF creative rumoured to be CD at Perth JWT. Confirm please?

Again? said:

How can another WA Brand that plays on the WA heartstrings move over East?

Guess they can't practice what they preach.

Lambsy said:

It's the wolf!

O.v.e.r I.t said:

Have also heard rumours of a JWT Perth office... Still, if there are any creatives hanging around WA - leave while you can. Perth is just a joke for creatives.

Gush said:

This will make the Water Corp pitch more interesting

John said:

What happened to 303.....they must have thought they were a chance? Brand will bounce back from this.

Sad Face said:

This is a disatster for local production companies.

New Broom said:

Well it was long overdue really. The Brand Agency have been dining out on that account (literally) for the past decade. I'm just surprised it didn't happen sooner!

Simon said:

Can anyone explain why this has happened.

Herman said:

So who's doing the media?

Colin Mackay-Coghill said:

To those weak, spineless few who choose to use this forum to badmouth other agencies and individuals, whilst hiding behind the cloak of anonymity, you're pathetic. And, in the process, you're damaging the reputation of the entire WA industry - your agencies included.

Sure, have an opinion but have the bloody balls to put your name to it.

To The Brand, I know the blood, sweat and tears that went into that account over the years and I know how hard you fought to unify the brand and raise the bar creatively.

Chin up guys, you should all be damn proud of the legacy you'll leave.


Wrong Turn? said:

Seriously go to the JWT site and enter either 'RAC' or 'Perth' in their search box...

oh you said:

Wow. Thought this topic warranted a bit better standard of response than this. Just wow.

Observer said:

Media is a separate tender. Date is to be confirmed.

Relax Colin said:

The Brand have had a good 21 year run with RAC and may even be slightly relieved that the account is going. You yourself know the relationship has been strained at times over the years. It's not the end of the world for RAC or Brand. Agreed, Brand has given a lot to that account, but they've been rewarded for that hard work too. Good luck to both parties as they set off on new paths and good luck to JWT on setting up a Perth office.

i lost my bet. said:

my money was on 303.
let's not forget this is just one STW group agency beating another STW group agency.

Can't roll my eyes any harder said:

Colin, you're incredibly thin skinned if these mild comments are all it takes to get you to spew such vitriol. Of all the comments here, the worst by far is yours - and you put your name to it! Did it ever occur to you that the commenters may not be from opposing agencies but from staff who have actually worked at the Brand and know from whence they speak? I'm working off the assumption that if you've worked in Perth long enough, odds are you'll have worked there at some point, there's really only a few agencies in town after all. Accounts come and go. Have a smidgen of grace about it.

I know The Brand collectively has a bit of an ego but did they really think things would stay the same way forever? A gentle reminder that this should be a wake up call for them, lest they go the way of Marketforce. Good luck to JWT Sydney. I can only assume the best agency on the day won.

Colin Mackay-Coghill said:

Relax Colin, I agree completely with you and am not commenting on the review process, the RAC's decision or indeed JWT.

In fact for JWT to wrench the account out of The Brand Agency, they must have put up one hell of a compelling case and hats off to them for the victory.

Of course it's not the end of the world for The Brand Agency. They're a national powerhouse and will continue on their merry way, despite their disappointment, and if the RAC actually uses this as an opportunity to drive change internally as well, then the decision will have been a good one for them as a business.

But, it's never easy to lose a major client, let alone a foundation client, that's an icon in this state and for the people who've worked tirelessly on the account for the last few years, some of whom will be looking for work next week, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

And that is worth acknowledging, even if it is part and parcel of working in this industry.

My issue is the anonymity that's tolerated on this blog and the puerile level of debate that it fosters.

This industry is fantastic, employs lots of fabulously talented people and adds significant value to clients' businesses in almost every sector - but you'd never know it reading this rubbish.

Surely it's up to us to raise the level of debate and that's never going to happen when a handful of anonymous children insist on playing their silly little games and we, as an industry continue to tolerate it.

The Times They Are. said:

Another new player in the Perth market has got to be a good thing - at least for clients. It also enables STW to pitch on stuff that conflicts at Brand have precluded to this point. Ikea, HBF, any one of the Unis. The trouble they will have is staffing up creatively with people who understand the local market but have something different to offer. 303Lowe have solved this simply by hiring talent over east, letting them stay there and then getting them to work on local projects. Wonder if this will become the model for JWT - a suit-led local shop that draws on the east coast creative department?

Foundation clients said:

Seen them lost over east for similar reasons. No surprises there.

It is about time this was said:

Colin. I am one of the anonymous children you refer to. Born in the back room of the large agency. Hidden from the chosen ones who are worshiped and protected on the floor above. We are disposable when times are tough and undervalued when fortunes go the agencies way. Occasionally allowed to share the boardroom for birthdays and agency milestones, the rest of the time we spend is hidden away in cubicles located close to the cleaners storeroom or next to the toilets. Recognition of the hard work we do is a usually a few lines in the managing director's slurred words at the Christmas party. The same hollow words every year. We are the anonymous children who now have a voice via this blog. We are not playing a silly game. We are looking for something far more important than that. We want to be heard. We have something to say. It's called the TRUTH. So why do we protect out identity? Because it adds to the fun. We are the anonymous children and you will hear from us again soon.

Nigel F said:

Bad news guys. I can only imagine the heartache. As for the " harden up " response to Colin; surely you are kidding? It's easy to call from afar "crack a can of concrete and move on" , but the reality is people are going to lose their jobs, careers just starting will be put on hold (or terminated) - the WA advertising industry will be dented severely. Everyone who reads/comments on CB knows this - which makes the anonymous sledgings post a 'king hit' hard to swallow . I use the words 'king hit' deliberately. An organisation which has positioned it's brand, and built its customer base through parochial belching should inhale its own scent and keep the communications talent in WA, and/or at least employed.

The advertising and production talent is here. If you (marketers) can't communicate your brand position and offerings effectively utilising the talent in this state, you should go to university or start another career. Frankly, I am tired of seeing inadequate 'salespeople come marketers' using agency's (and other external providers) as scapegoats for their own pedestrian, lack lustre attempts at being 'strategic'. (I realise RAC were 21 years with Brand, but they are not the only agency in town). Just look at Ikea as a case in point - they bounce around like a cricket on speed.

Colin Mackay-Coghill said:

It is about time... By all means, have your fun and if you are one of the vast majority of bloggers on this site who does so with a modicum of respect for the industry and the individuals within it, then more power to you.

But, if you are one of the small minority who get their kicks from shamelessly abusing your colleagues in the industry, or indeed the fruits of their labour, then I'm afraid I can't see the fun in that.

And just to provide a little perspective for your oppressed, undervalued self; most of the slurring Managing Directors of whom you so disdainfully write, were also borne in the back rooms of large agencies and hidden from the chosen ones.

They just chose not to see themselves as victims, whine about their fate and take anonymous swipes at anyone or anything they had issue with.

They got off their backsides, worked their guts out and, in many cases, mortgaged their homes and invested their lifesavings to build the businesses that now employ you.

You are wrong Colin. said:

Name a current MD who has come up from the bottom?

old ad guy said:

Al Taylor - just a baby of an account exec at FCB Shorter
Steve Harris - a pimple faced account exec at BCY

Sir Martin said:

Dear You are wrong Colin ..... Steve Harris, Alan Taylor, Tony Scampoli all started at the bottom. To name but three.

Come on. said:

Alan Taylor was Bruce Shorter's golden boy. He even had a car park. He was given the easy accounts to work on and was always the first to go home.
Steve Harris never had to lift a finger at BCY. His shoes were polished by Richard Clark.
They allowed him Wednesday afternoons off for personal development.
Tony Scampoli. Come on. He was feed veal cutlets every lunch time by the creative guys at Adlink. His chest hair was groomed daily by the busty receptionist at the time.

Old guy must be joking said:

Alan Taylor was the Prince Harry of FCB royalty. No bloodline but all the privileges.

He was hired because Bruce confused him with his older brother Steve, who was a presenter on State Affair at the time. For many years Bruce was impressed that Alan could leave work at 5pm and still make it on air by 6.30 in Tuart Hill.

Alan had an ensuite toilet that he shared with creative director John (High fibre) Illian.
He never visited the art room downstairs because he thought it spent funny.
He had a man servant Dean Graham who would attend to his every desire.
He had fancy after shave on his desk that the creative team would often top up with their own urine.
He was never at the bottom he went straight to the second floor.

Next example please.

Old ad guy said:

"Prince Harry of FCB royalty" v. funny.

Okay, wasn't John Driscoll a courier or junior account exec at JMG years ago?

Sir Martin fan said:

To name but three. Where are the rest of your bottom feeding MD's Sir Martin. Looks like your first three have been shot down in flames for being fancy pants.

Response to old guy said:

If John was a courier or a junior exec he would have scars to prove it. The only way you could prove he has those scars now is would be when he sitting on the back of this big boat in Thompson Bay sipping a cool Chardy.

bbam! said:

Dean a man servant lol. I can see it.

It's Syria all over again said:

Not wanting to break up the hilarity on here. But while we collectively navel gaze and reminisce, those cold-hearted account-stealing bastards from over east are already plotting to get their hands on our precious clients. Here's Gutteridge in The Australian: "This is an historical moment for JWT, opening a new office doesn't happen every day. We're excited about the future prospects in WA, the state is obviously experiencing exponential growth right now, with that comes opportunities.''

Back-lit said:

Ahh yes, the German Gemini.

Mr Sox with sandals said:

Relax Syria. Give JWT two years before they pack up their pencils and 'consolidate' back to Sydney. Their lease on some fancy office here will be two years. The office furniture will be on a short term lease and the staff will be on a special fly back to Sydney for the weekend package. RAC will be lost in their system in a few years. Bet my razor scooter on it.

Younger Guy said:

I'm with you 6.24.

As hilarious as all that in-joke glory-days waffle is (*vomits in mouth) this is a pretty devastating blow to our industry.

Agencies already scrounge, undercut, backstab and bribe the small pool of clients we have here. Adding the cool new kid on the block from outta town, is only gonna make things much worse.

And just a gentle reminder JWT, this is a cashed-up bogan economy – the mining industry 'boom' is only causing 'exponential growth' within the mining industry. And maybe in pubs with strippers and extra cold Coronas.

For a company that prides itself on being 'part of the WA community' (and even wrote a pitch brief to support this!) it seems unbelievably hypocritical to make this decision.

damn said:

With you 11.31. What an rubbish decision from the RAC.

Another older guy said:

Arrhhh. 11.31. Finally the Generation Y's are feeling the sting and are getting all serious. They might be out of a job and might struggle paying off their trendy city apartments. Ooopppps. Before it was what's in it for me and I want this because I'm worth it and I am the future. Blah blah blah.

Now some old pricks, who have worked hard for years are having a laugh and you get all upperty. Hey, these old pricks really don't care anymore. They were worried years ago when we had to employ you guys and now look what has happened. You're all worried about the WA industry. We were years ago but you guys were too interested in yourselves. Well too little. Too late my mid 70's to 80's child.

The older management at Brand wouldn't be too worried about RAC. They can see the sunset bar on the horizon serving Sancerre in chilled glasses and their travel bags are well over the travel allowance packed with cash.

And the RAC being worried about part of the WA community. That's a laugh. Time to grow up Younger Guy. Cancel your regular yoga class at 5.30pm every day and do some real work to keep business in WA.

Over to you.

deano said:

"the glory days waffle" was making a point* regarding one specific thread...many a local head honcho started at the bottom of the ladder..talent and personality saw them succeed.
Add Wayne Vinten to the list.
As for the "devastating blow to the industry".. how can competition in a free market economy make things worse? Do you want protectionism? The most isolated capital city in the world breeds isolationists.

I smell a rat! said:

After 21 years, the Brand knew they were going to lose the account.
So they did a deal with JWT to help them win the account.
That way the RAC’s lucrative billings stay within the STW Group instead of going to the Brand’s arch-enemy, 303.

Joker in the pack said:

Waffle and Wayne Vinten - now there's a match made in heaven.

I've got a seven thirty said:

I miss those days.

concerned said:

Another older guy said (7:48)..

Younger Guy 11:31 was expressing concerns for the industry at large, nothing rude or 'upperty' about what he or she wrote.

Glad you're not going to be around this planet for much longer.

Yet another even older guy said:

That's not very nice 3.11.

Rose colored glasses said:

There's no money in the industry anymore yeah the boats are at rotto but theyre not new they look tired
The people are looking tired
margins are not 17.5 per cent anymore everything is so much harder
People are so much pettier and bitchy trying to justify their jobs and keep their agency doors open

Feel sorry for you young ones you have missed out on an industry that used to be great and so much fun.

Great budgets,great clients,great ideas,great lunches,great mates,great money

Prozac said:

Unless they have a completely new way of working I can't see it making any difference to individual accounts or the Perth ad scene. I mean, it's not like it's Droga or the monkeys. It's a JWT outpost. And a far flung one at that. Set up to service a sprawling largely uncreative account. They'll soon settle into borderline mediocrity along with the rest of us. It just adds one more local horse to the clients' merry-go-round at pitch time.

Child of the 80's said:

Younger guy - I would have killed to be around in the 80's ( working that is ) Have you ever listened to the stories? So while you vomit in your mouth, know this- we are shit in comparison . Go for a beer with your boss one night - you won't want to leave . Now that reminds me " Billings" you owe me a case of piss!

The Floater said:

Child of the 80's
As someone who was around then and around now, I can tell you they were just as shit then as we are now. The difference was there were no armies of bean counters to account for every penny. No lardi-di-da snake oil digital types to steal the money that is rightfully ours. No planners to squeeze the last ounce of creativity from a client brief before it hits the creative department. Creatives were no better. They were worse. Much worse. Copying their ideas from old annuals and writing shit jingles for everything they couldn't fob off with 2Cs in a K. Nobody gave a toss about awards. They were too busy taking drugs and getting pissed. The whole agency was as few people as were needed to do the ads, as opposed to as many people as possible servicing the client (whatever the fuck that is). All this resulted in obscene amounts of money floating around, looking for a home. If you missed the boat, tough luck. They pulled up the anchor years ago. That's why the smart kids always leave town.

I was with Floater said:

May I add to your wise words Floater. There was a constant flow of outrageous antics from many agencies in that time. Can you imagine walking into the agency and finding the managing director in bondage gear drinking scotch at 9am? Creatives driving motorbikes through the corridors of a high rise city building. It was hilarious. The creatives were out there. Richard Swinhoe was the king. Practical jokes daily. Pitches and a new beer launch every week. Halter tops and pubic hair. Guest speakers would fly over for the PADC and we'd stay all afternoon drinking and listening to similar stories from the east. Accountants were only there to collect your receipts from the lunches you went to nearly every day and refund the amount in your pay packet.
A locked or close door of an office usually meant that there was some sort of sexual or drug related antics happening behind the desk. Swapping labels on the agency show reel with a porno tapes and sending to a new client was laughed at by agency and client. Sorry guys, as Floater said, you have missed that boat. Start building another boat.

We all had hair said:

Does anyone remember Karen Pini? For those young turks. Google Karen Pini.

K. Pini said:

Yes. Before waxing it was all happening down there. Sad to hear RAC have moved from Brand. Clever move to keep in it in the network. If we can just keep the Dockers in Freo now not Cockburn that would be nice. BTW. To get from RAC to my pubes in 64 comments is terrific. Thanks for remembering.

Please God said:

Please God let that last comment have come from the real Karen Pini - I miss her so much.

K.P. said:

Yes 3.17 it is me. I am still a big fan of the ad industry. I love catching up with all the ins and outs of clients and all the staff movements. Thanks for your support. K.P.

You know, it's funny...

Several years ago Gordon Dawson (...I think it was Gordon, sorry if I'm wrong...) wrote an article in CB magazine giving some pretty good advice to young ad professionals on "How to Survive in Advertising"

This prompted Richard Clark to submit a follow-up article saying in effect "Wrong! We need to stop the smart kids from being doctors and engineers and get them into agencies. Bugger the mere survivors - we've got enough of those already"

Richard then went on to list all the tell-tale signs of what he saw as a ‘typical advertising no-hoper’ - be they creative, suits, or media folk.

He ended the piece by saying in his next article, he'll include a list of names of his top ten no-hopers who should have been put out to pasture years ago ...... to which Campaign Brief added the retort: "Oh no he won’t!"

The rumour mill had great fun with these events at the time, and the consensus was that CB were 100% right to censor Richard before he could write something personally offensive or potentially damaging to someone’s career.

My, how times have changed.

Isn't it funny how back then, one known commentator was castigated for "almost" making snide, objectionable, possibly-libellous, highly personal comments in a public forum - yet now, numerous unknown commentators are making "multiple" snide, objectionable, possibly-libellous highly personal comments in a public forum with total impunity?

Might be time for CB to pull on the big, bad forum-moderators boots and kick some sense into people. Frankly I think its about time that they did so.

To all those people who have been band-mouthing others on this thread, the ACCC ruled in 2009 that a company could be held legally liable for other people's offensive or misleading comments, if those comments were on their website and the company did not remove the relevant comments once their existence was brought to its attention. The ASB came to a similar conclusion with a complaint against CUB’s Facebook page recently.

If you don't want CB taking the rap for your cowardly, vindictive dummy-spits (and no one here wants that) I'd either start signing your comments or pull back on the character assassination a bit.

As for the account move, it's always a tragedy when people lose their jobs and condolences to those who might be looking for work soon. But change can be a good thing, for both agencies and individuals - hopefully this one leads to something beneficial.

D. Phil said:

Read the comments again. Any individual named is clearly discussed sardonically. Sardonic laughter is characterised by Propp in his "Theory and History of Folklore" thus:, "Among the very ancient people of Sardinia, who were called Sardi or Sardoni, it was customary to kill old people. While killing their old people, the Sardi laughed loudly. This is the origin of notorious sardonic laughter (Eugen Fehrle, 1930), now meaning cruel, malicious laughter. In light of our findings things begin to look different. Laughter accompanies the passage from death to life; it creates life and accompanies birth. Consequently, laughter accompanying killing transforms death into a new birth, nullifies murder as such, and is an act of piety that transforms death into a new life." I can't see anyone having a problem with that.

Oprah said:

Back to work D. Phil or we will kill you ya old fart.

End of the list. said:

So sad the thread is about to slip off the list. It has been fun. Special thanks to Colin for his misguided and crazy words. The Fox of course for the nice wrap up. The one and only K. Pini. (even though she was censored.) And all those old ad guys who are still re living the golden years. Good luck everyone.

Swinhoe said:

What a shame so little was said about the excellent work that has been done for both past and current clients by The Brand and all the other agencies and their employees.
Those malicious and vindictive comments that have been posted have been made by a lot of people who either weren't there or wouldn't have been included if they were! I'm very proud of the work we did, the arduous hours we put and all the bright hard working people who went to make to make up those viable and creative businesses your seem to be very ready to sneer at.
I haven't been in the business for over twenty years, I still miss the process but after reading your comments I'm glad I'm out of it.
Commiserations to all those at Brand who worked on the RAC account.

Optional said:

I have been outside Australia for a long time (10 years).

One question or thing I have been told by managing directors of (The Big) Agencies since returning is "why do you want a creative job in Perth, why didn't you go to Sydney or Melbourne. All the good work, worth making a career from is over there". But I'm from Perth. I grew up here. Why would I go anywhere else.

Agencies loose accounts. They win them too. It doesn't matter what side of Australia your on. I'm sure "The Brand Agency" can now spend more time on winning something different, maybe even take an account from a Sydney office and breed new life into their agency. I've seen accounts leave agencies after 10 years, then come straight back after 2. Sometimes the grass can look greener. For a while.

Seems to me that the same old attitude of "Theres no work here". "All the good stuff is on the East coast". Still exists. Maybe its time to wake up Perth and really take our heads out of the sand and start believing in ourselves a bit more. There is no reason why we can't have the big names and accounts here. And maybe this move by JWT is a start of great things to come. Would be nice to have some big name agencies in Perth instead of the same ones that have been here all the time that control the market and tell you how far your career will go.

This is when a reply comment says.
"Well if you don't like it why did you come back".

and the dribble continues.

Just curious... said:

Where is Vern Reid these days?

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