Accenture confirms hire of Kiwi ad duo Justin Mowday, Damon Stapleton

Accenture has brought an end to the speculation surrounding the future of former DDB advertising duo Justin Mowday and Damon Stapleton.

The company’s New Zealand managing director Ben Morgan has confirmed the company will be hiring the pair to set up the local arm of its ad agency The Monkeys.

“We are delighted that they have decided to join Accenture Interactive as we expand our business within New Zealand,” Morgan said.

The Monkeys Co-Founder and Group CEO, and Accenture Interactive ANZ Lead, Mark Green said Mowday and Stapleton were handpicked develop the local arm of the business.

“Together, they have produced some of the world’s most interesting work and have steered equally famous agencies working alongside impressive brands. We believe they are the perfect people to help us build a great business in New Zealand.”

The Monkeys was established in Sydney in 2006, before being acquired by consulting giant Accenture in 2017.

The initial acquisition sent shockwaves through the advertising industry in that it offered the first indication the big accountancy firms were eyeing out the turf of the advertising industry.

Other similar moves included PWC taking up a minority stake in creative agency Thinkerbell and Deloitte investing heavily in digital operations which could allow for the inhouse development of advertising.

Accenture’s big investment in the digital advertising space has resulted in large footprint, with Accenture Interactive recognised as the world’s largest digital agency for the sixth year in a row, according to industry publication Advertising Age.

So far, New Zealand’s advertising scene has been spared of the disruptive force of the consultancies, with local agencies observing from afar.

However, the appointment of two of the country’s top advertising executives shows the company means business.

Mowday and Stapleton will, however, have to build things from the ground up.

Both advertising executives said it was an opportunity they couldn’t resist.

“While we will miss the very talented people and amazing clients we’ve had the privilege of working alongside at DDB, I look forward to working with Mark and the local team to help charter an exciting new journey into this creatively driven market,” Mowday said.

Stapleton added: “I’ve long admired the agency’s ability to create outstanding ideas that live well beyond advertising and go on to take their place in helping to shape Australian culture. Couple this with Accenture Interactive’s tech, digital and data capabilities, and you have a really enticing opportunity to make a true impact on New Zealand.”

They may have the backing of a global giant, but they will still have to convince clients to give the new agency a shot and then go about recruiting staff to ensure all advertising needs are met.

It’s also worth noting that the advertising agencies in the country will not be sitting still. Over the last few years, major local agencies like DDB have worked hard to build out their capabilities across digital and data to better serve the modern strategic needs of businesses.

These processes have been years in the making and for all their might, even a consulting giant will need to put the pieces in place.

The appointment of Mowday and Stapleton at Accenture comes amid a period of massive change across the local advertising scene.

The growing list of recent executive changes includes the departure of FCB boss Paul Shale, Mark Cochrane being appointed as the new boss of Saatchi & Saatchi, Angela Watson as managing director of Colenso BBDO, Strahan Wallis as CEO of the Clemenger Group, former FCB chief creative officer Tony Clewett’s move to Federation and the departure of Stanley St chief creative officer Regan Grafton for Culture & Theory.

One thing the Accenture move sets up is a new layer in the battle for competition. Not only with advertising agencies now fight among each other and growing in-house advertising services at major corporates but also against the consultancies.

Staff will have no shortage of career opportunities within and outside the industry in the coming years.

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