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.