Old friends

Finweek English Edition - - ADVERTISING & MARKETING -

ld Friends Young Tal­ent (OFyt), a one-year-old agency with a unique blend of youth­ful en­ergy and ex­pe­ri­ence, has snagged the R50m Kia Mo­tors ac­count in a com­pet­i­tive pitch against Port Elizabeth agency Boom­town, and M&CSaatchi Abel.

It’s a hugely sig­nif­i­cant break­through for the young shop, il­lus­trat­ing an ap­petite among clients for fresh think­ing and their grow­ing will­ing­ness to en­trust ma­jor ac­counts to small agen­cies. The in­cum­bent agency, Singh & Sons, is also a small shop.

Of course, the beauty of OFyt is that the ex­pe­ri­ence side of the equa­tion com­prises some of the most knowl­edge­able peo­ple in ad­ver­tis­ing, with par­tic­u­larly strong ex­pe­ri­ence on au­to­mo­tive ac­counts. Gary Leih, the South African who rose to be CEO of Ogilvy Group UK, co­founded the agency with Jono Shu­b­itz, the former ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor of Ogilvy Cape Town and chair­man of OgilvyOne SA, and banker turned air­line in­dus­try mar­keter, Paul New­man ‒ just one year ago. It is now an agency of 50 peo­ple. The strat­egy of the agency is to coun­ter­bal­ance the ex­pe­ri­ence of the founders with a de­lib­er­ately young team.

OFyt was “one of the few agen­cies that don’t have an au­to­mo­tive ac­count but does have plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence of the in­dus­try,” says Johanna McDow­ell of IAS, who han­dled the pitch, start­ing with a long l ist of 13 agen­cies. “Car ac­count ex­pe­ri­ence is very lim­ited. But ev­ery­body wants one. Com­pe­ti­tion was very keen.”

David Si­eff, Kia’s na­tional mar­ket­ing man­ager, said Kia went to mar­ket “to look for a part­ner with a strong au­to­mo­tive back­ground cou­pled with new ideas to drive the Kia brand to the next level of con­sumer en­gage­ment. We found in OFyt a great com­bi­na­tion of cre­ative horse­power, real au­to­mo­tive ex­pe­ri­ence and lots of youth­ful ex­u­ber­ance.”

Gary Leih said that with its drive to keep on in­no­vat­ing through con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment, “Kia rep­re­sents the best op­por­tu­nity to sig­nif­i­cantly re­shape the South African mo­tor mar­ket.” It is also the agency’s first really sub­stan­tial ac­count on which to build a rep­u­ta­tion.

Lon­don-based South African Greg Burke par­tic­i­pated in the pitch, and will re­turn as cre­ative di­rec­tor of the agency. An­other as-yet un­named South African will be re­turn­ing as MD.

Ex­ist­ing OFyt ac­counts in­clude Henry Tay­lor & Ries (11 brands), ADT, The Crazy Store and Khoki.

Greg Burke

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