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Basil brushes off Ogilvy, leaves O’Leary to go solo

Damon O'Leary: in front of a wall

Basil Christensen, the art directing half of Ogilvy’s creative team, has decided to retire from advertising (for a while, at least) and move to the South of France, which means his long-time creative partner Damon O’Leary will be on his own as Ogilvy’s executive creative director.

“I’ve been making ads for over 25 years and the time’s come to do something different,” Christensen says. “I’m looking forward to doing bugger all for six months before I decide what to do next.”

After being lured to Ogilvy from a 12 year stint at Saatchis by Roy Meares and Jeremy Taine three years ago, the duo took up the reigns as new creative heads after Taine’s departure late last year. The duo are responsible for one of New Zealand’s best-loved beer commercials, Tui ‘Brucetta’, and their work has been awarded pretty much everywhere.

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“In January, Bas and I added three award-winning new creatives to our line-up along with some hungry juniors and now, with Rupert Price, the ex head of planning at Ogilvy London, heading up planning here, I think we’re in great shape. Plus with Basil leaving I now have free holiday accommodation in France,” O’Leary says.

No doubt, in addition to O’Leary, there’ll be a few cheap Kiwis aiming to crash on his couch after next year’s Cannes festivities.

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