Darryn Melrose has only been with M&C Saatchi for 24 hours, but he has already set about "re-energising" his new agency and improving its digital strategy.
News that M&C Saatchi CEO Nick Baylis had moved on and would be replaced by Melrose surfaced yesterday.
Melrose says he wasn't involved in any of the decision-making regarding Baylis' departure and can't comment on the reasons behind it, although he says he has been in discussions with M&C "for the last couple of weeks" about the role.
"They approached us [AIM Proximity's CEO Melrose, ECD Dave King and planning director Tony Burt], we looked at it and saw a great opportunity."
". . . [Baylis] has agreed to go and in terms of what we can do instead, we need to ask where the market is going and create something that's different. You have to have a point of difference."
So, let the "re-energising" begin.
"M&C Saatchi is a global brand. It's been very successful in Australia. But in New Zealand, it hasn't fully realised its potential yet and that's what we can do."
Melrose, who is chair of the Digital Leadership Group and "has a passion for digital", believes M&C is strong in broadcast and retail, but one of his major goals is to "weave digital into that group".
"I'd argue that we have very few integrated agencies that are very strong in digital. But now we can offer world class experience, especially with the likes of Tony Burt, who has huge experience working in UK digital."
He says broadcasting is still the dominant medium but, due to the recession and the ever-changing media landscape, he believes clients are looking at new, fresh approaches and there is now more emphasis on the "portfolio approach", with digital and targeting strategies becoming increasingly important.
"New Zealand businesses are behind the rest of the world in terms of digital, but broadband is rolling out and it's time to start doing things better in the digital space. But they're not really sure what to do."
M&C Chairman Tom Dery knew the agency needed experienced digital leadership.
“The way the digital landscape is transforming globally means these are exciting times for advertising. New Zealand is leading the way in digital, and now M&C Saatchi has a world class digital team to add to its offering.
"Ten to fifteen years ago digital agencies were kept separate. Now digital is integrating with big ad agencies, like what is happening at M&C Saatchi New Zealand. This move, a first for New Zealand, shows a major agency leading with digital to compliment the traditional approach.”
Melrose, who worked with AIM Proximity for six years and packed his bags around one month ago, is unsure if his former agency is engaging in a feverish hunt for new talent to shore up its depleted roster. But he did say: "They're a great agency and I'm sure they'll continue to do well."