Eleven minus one: Bennett goes it alone, TBWA\ shifts PR focus

There’s been plenty of change at TBWA\ over the past few months, with Todd McLeay and Toby Talbot coming on board to take over from David ‘I’m not fucking retiring’ Walden and Andy Blood. And now there’s some more change, with Eleven PR’s founder and managing partner Kelly Bennett leaving to set up his own corporate public relations business.

Eleven PR was set up seven years ago. And since then it has expanded into Australia and Asia and won a host of awards, including last year’s Campaign Asia-Pacific 2012 ‘PR Agency of the Year’ (Australia/New Zealand). Bennett was made head of PR and Activation in TBWA\ Asia Pacific in the middle of last year and he was also instrumental in the establishment of the CAANZ Marcomms Leadership Group.

Bennett says he’s loved his time within the TBWA\ network (which included a fair amount of horn-locking with Devo) and he’s extremely proud of what he has achieved. But he says it was time to create his own thing and he’s looking forward to the freedom of being able to choose the clients he wants to work with.

Eleven has a large client base, including IAG, Beam Global, and Tourism New Zealand, and when asked if he was taking any of its existing clients to his as-yet-unnamed agency, he didn’t want to comment. But it’s thought a few of them are following him.

Bennett will be replaced by Lauren Vosper, who was previously Sydney business director for Clemenger Group Sydney and group account director at DDB Group Sydney, where she was responsible for developing the live event, content and sponsorship leverage for some of Australia’s biggest brands including Telstra, Diageo, Samsung and Volkswagen.

Chief executive Todd McLeay said in a release that Vosper’s appointment signals a change in focus for Eleven, which will concentrate more on consumer PR and aim to “broaden the scope of TBWA\’s integrated PR and experiential expertise for existing and new clients”.

It’s also thought the new management team has made some changes to the digital set-up inside TBWA\. 

UPDATE: Executive creative director Toby Talbot says the changes to the digital set-up are more physical than personel-based, with around eight staff from the Digital Arts Network (DAN) on the first floor moving in with the creative department over the weekend. DAN will still focus on big website builds and user experience, but he says the addition of some more muscle will help the agency’s quest for integration.

The building itself is also being modified, even though it was modified fairly recently. And Talbot says he’s trying to create an agency with a more 21st century look. 

“I’m jzushing, darling,” he says.  

“Lauren’s proven expertise at creating engaging and headline-grabbing brand experiences around the world provides us with the opportunity to offer a more integrated activation approach,” McLeay says. “Kelly has done an outstanding job for the TBWA\ network in building our public relations offer … He leaves with our best wishes.”

From mid-2007 to early 2012, Vosper was based in Europe where she worked for Iris Worldwide, one of the world’s leading integrated communications agencies. She has previously worked with a wide range of global brands, including Volkswagen, Smirnoff, Mini, PlayStation, Sony Ericsson, Coca-Cola and Absolut.

Highlights include Sony Ericsson’s pan-European ‘Sound Snacks’ campaign; Powerade’s sponsorship leverage campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; Mini’s London Olympics 2012 strategy and an ‘interactive’ marketing campaign for the English Football Association (FA). She also directed the music talent procurement strategy for Smirnoff’s Nightlife Exchange Project across 50 markets for Iris partner agency Graphite.

“After seven years roaming the globe and working on some incredible projects I’m returning home to a country that I believe produces some the biggest and boldest ideas in the world. I’m incredibly excited about Todd McLeay and Toby Talbot’s vision for the agency and very much looking forward to being a part of the TBWA family.”

Vosper’s appointment is effective mid-July.

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