After 25 successful years in the industry, Simon Teagle is hanging up his FCB head of client service hat to relax and mull over his next move.
And while he's yet to confirm the direction he'll take, he's optimistic about what the future holds.
"Whatever I want to do, I can," he says. But for now, he's going to take an extended break over the festive season.
And after so many years in an industry that requires its members to be highly energised and emotionally invested to be at the top of their game, he deserves to put his feet up, particularly after some "fleeting moments" this year signaled to him that he should perhaps re-evaluate.
“There came a point in the year where perhaps the spring in my step wasn’t there like it once was and for me that was quite confronting,” he says.
“It was at that point I started to reflect and determine that actually, I’ve been doing this for 25 years, maybe I should take a breather and try something else.”
Teagle’s career started at AUT, where an inspirational lecturer opened his eyes to the industry’s combination of analytical skills and creativity, something he says sparked an “I think that’s for me” moment.
He then received a cadetship at DDB and never looked back.
In his six or seven years at the agency, with the likes Marty O'Halloran and Sandy Moore, Teagle says he cut his teeth in the industry while working on clients including McDonald’s, Sky and AMI—a project that won a CAANZ Gold Lion at the first CAANZ Media Awards.
That award has since been followed by a Best in Show at the CAANZ Media Awards for a 5,250 minute advertorial for Noel Leeming. More recently, he joined his fellow FCB team mates in celebrating the Media Agency of the Year win at this year’s Beacons, alongside nine golds and 11 silvers.
At the time, he told StopPress: “Winning MAOTY is a great accolade for our team. They are seriously the smartest and most committed group of people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Our people have high standards, they respect everyone they deal with, and they have created a high-energy fun culture that is second to none. I couldn’t be more proud.”
With this is mind, it’s fair to say Teagle is leaving the agency on a high point, but not ‘the’ high point, as he has no doubt the agency will have many more.
“We’re acquiring new clients in a measured way ... all the while making sure we don’t lose sight of the importance of making sure our existing clients are well looked after,” he says.
But working at the agency hasn’t come without challenges, particularly in the role of head of client media service because, “inevitably you’re the throat to choke when there are moment where either 40 clients or 60 staff want something sorted”.
He’s been the one to fix things when the need arises, he says, and the volume of clients and staff is relentless.
And as well as in his role, he’s faced challenges in the changing media environment over the years.
When he entered the industry, he says TV wasn’t interactive and digital was less of a conversation piece and not as clear. However, he could see there was technology being created that was going to have an influence – and sure enough it has.
“It’s exciting to have been part of it, especially in the last 10 and more so in the last five years. The rate of change has accelerated and that’s exciting, and challenges of what works and how do you measure it,” he says.
For that reason, Teagle sees the role of media agencies' as consultants being as critical as ever.
He also sees the trading and buying role of agencies becoming more automated over time, meaning agencies are going to be differentiated by the “smarts of the strategic people in the building,” he says.
And it's these people Teagle calls “the big sticky gluey part” of why he loves the industry.
“I thrive in lively, energetic environments and that’s the type of environment I like to create if that doesn’t exist,” he says, before adding in the great work it does to make clients successful— “because if we aren’t doing that, we’re not doing our jobs”.
“It’s about doing spectacular work and working with a bunch of people who are highly energised, ambitious and smart.”