Chang­ing of the guard

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology -

IN THREE YEARS Nicci Statha­copou­los has built Prox­im­i­tyttp into a sig­nif­i­cant force in the agency world, oc­cu­py­ing a hard-to-de­fine niche that most South Africans would call through-the-line. But it dif­fers from many other multi-chan­nel agen­cies in where it started: di­rect mar­ket­ing and CRM.

Statha­copou­los has now left both Jo­han­nes­burg and the ad agency world, “sem­i­grat­ing” to a job with Wool­worths in Cape Town as act­ing head of cus­tomer mar­ket­ing. In mov­ing to the Mother City, she fol­lows in the foot­steps of pre­vi­ous fe­male semi­grés such as Nandi Scorer and Gil­lian Right­ford.

“Jo­han­nes­burg is re­ally harsh,” she says. “It’s time to do some­thing else, some­where else. This is the third agency I’ve started.”

For new MD Bren­dan Wade, the agency is com­fort­ably po­si­tioned to ease it­self into a new char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion as a “creative stu­dio”. That’s a term rel­a­tively un­known in SA: but its con­cepts aren’t for­eign to ad agen­cies.

A grow­ing trend over­seas, the creative stu­dio of­fers a multi-dis­ci­plinary, mul­ti­chan­nel ap­proach to cre­ativ­ity.

“Cre­ativ­ity is an ap­proach to think­ing that goes be­yond the search for a pretty pic­ture,” says Wade. “Clients have two routes: the me­thod­i­cal ap­proach of con­sul­tancy firms or to come to an agency like us and solve their prob­lems cre­atively.

“If the prob­lem is in mar­ket­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tion or prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, cre­ativ­ity is the key, used across all plat­forms, lev­els and me­dia. Or­gan­i­sa­tions led by mar­keters tend to be more creative. They have po­si­tions, such as ‘idea direc­tors’.”

For the Rose­bank Ho­tel, Prox­im­i­tyttp helped de­vise a pro­gramme based on the guest ex­pe­ri­ence; for Hum­mer, it de­vel­oped an on­line pro­mo­tional game.

“Con­sul­tants de­velop ideas but don’t know how to ex­e­cute them. We can do both. Creative stu­dios are very niched as ‘spe­cial­ists in gen­er­al­i­sa­tion’.”

Wade was pre­vi­ously head of strat­egy at Leo Bur­nett and be­fore that worked in brand ac­ti­va­tion and to­bacco mar­ket­ing.

Bren­dan Wade

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