It’s almost enough to entice a journalist to go agency-side. Australia's ad and media agencies are upping the ante, funding everything from fertility treatment, through gender affirmation leave, to $4000 referral bonuses even for staff who have left. Slumber days sit alongside free financial advice, home office funding and laundry services as agencies vie for talent in a labour market that has never been tighter. With salaries rising, the perks arms race is intensifying. Here's a sample of the spoils.
Leading media owners and agencies are in solidarity: The unprecedented and unsustainable growth surge in the $22 billion ad market over the past 12 months has peaked in the first half of this year and matching comparable reporting period increases is impossible. Linear TV, say new forecasts from Mediabrands’ investment arm Magna and GroupM, will hit real growth headwinds for 2023 but radio and Out of Home will join digital media as the next-wave growth darlings.
Yes, you've heard the abounding talent war stories. Salaries have surged 20 per cent across all job functions say agency bosses, brands and recruiters. Juniors are asking for $90,000; those with two years experience are shopping for $150,000 and content roles, particularly, are spiking. The biggest concern? Young talent is struggling with the increased responsibility and workloads that come with their bigger pay cheques. “Everyone is poaching everyone”, says one agency boss as immigration numbers show Australia is at less than a quarter of its pre-Covid peak – and more people are leaving Australia than arriving.
Veteran Mindshare CEO Katie Rigg-Smith will exit the media agency she started at as an intern two decades ago to become WPP’s Australia and New Zealand Chief Strategy Officer, replacing Rose Herceg who was recently appointed WPP’s ANZ President. The hunt is on for her replacement, which GroupM CEO Aimee Buchanan said would not necessarily be another woman. Rigg-Smith will stay in the role until her replacement starts.
Amazon grew its Australian advertising business 3x in 2021 – and agency ecomm execs think the juggernaut is starting to roll. They predict it will triple again in 2022, putting it on track to take $180 million in ad dollars by year's end. Amazon is already the biggest 'publisher' behind Google, Meta (aka Facebook), and YouTube, and its mountain of first party data makes it largely immune to privacy and mobile app tracking changes. But where is the money coming from? The answers may be surprising.
Work from home recommendations lifted this week, and some bosses are keen to get everyone back in most of the time, but don't want to force people. So how to do it? Let staff write their own rules, or tell them they can work wherever or whenever they want seems to be paying off – for those that make the office "so bloody good people want to come in". Chris Howatson, Aimee Buchanan, Tom Frazer, Laura Nice, Sian Whitnall, Nick Behr and Virginia Scully on how they're tackling living – and working – with Covid.
The Federal Attorney General's department deadline for responses to its sweeping overhaul of privacy legislation has closed and submissions now published present intriguing twists from industry. For one, Australia's peak advertiser body, which represents the biggest brands and billions of dollars of media investment, has sided with the ACCC over key privacy and consent changes being thrashed out by Australian lawmakers – and against the calls made by big tech platforms and even some of Australia's big local publishers. The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) says a standardised pop up would help smaller businesses that don’t have the money to spend on teams of compliance experts. But Google argued that stance would create huge compliance issues for many larger advertisers including banks, telcos, retailers and insurers which would then have very few words to explain complex practices of data collection and use.
Google has fired the starter pistol on finding an alternative to mobile ad IDs, following Apple’s App Tracking Transparency push while taking a swipe at Apple's “blunt approach” that it claims is harming advertising. Google is yet to explain how its 'Privacy Sandbox for Android' will differ – privacy by default or opted-in – but global and local ad execs told Mi3 that some sectors could be "decimated" while Google may benefit from sign-ins, furthering its massive advantages, while making more money from paid app downloads. Google's Jessica Martin, UM's Joshua Lowcock, Publicis' Jason Tonelli, Resolution's Phil Pollock, MiQ's Damien Healy and IAB's Jonas Jaanimagi tell Mi3 what's coming down the track.
Deloitte’s Australian and New Zealand unit kept the heat on agency holding companies today after acquiring three specialist firms in martech and CX – snapping up Venntifact, Blended Digital and New Republique – despite interest from the global communications giants. Along with talent raids on big creative agencies and acquiring Mumbai-based offshore content studio, Madras, the consulting firm is pacesetting with Accenture for tech, UX, martech and creative services leadership.
Brands, publishers and the ad supply chain have been warned that collecting data on customers is about to get much harder after the IAB Europe’s cookie consent pop-up was ruled unlawful, throwing a hand grenade of uncertainty into the global ad tech supply chain. Now Australia is bracing for its own privacy overhaul to go even harder than GDPR – and consent is the key battleground in determining how digital advertising will function, and the personal identifiers that brand, agencies and publishers are allowed to use to target audiences. And regardless of the Federal election outcome, due by May, industry figures say the Federal Attorney General department is set on proceeding with its review of the Privacy Act.
Peak CHEP? Market conjecture had CHEP’s near decade dream run as over but the agency’s new leadership team has overhauled the one-time agency darling for a post-Chris Howatson era. Unbundled specialist services and creativity for a new economy are key strategic planks for the newly-badged CHEP Network.
Early last year, Kia rebranded, changed its logo, and launched a pure electric vehicle to compete with high-end manufacturers. General Manager of Marketing Dean Norbiato says the level of interest in the EV6 is higher than any combustion engine the company has brought to market - "almost threefold”. Meanwhile, a deliberate plan to pump equity into the Kia brand and move upwards from a value and price-driven proposition is working. Aligning with the Australian Open and the halo of Kia landing alongside premium sponsors from Rolex, Penfolds and Piper-Heidsieck to Emirates and Ralph Lauren is getting the carmaker where it wants to go – faster.