Clemenger Group melds Auckland arms of Touchcast and Proximity into Colenso BBDO

Clemenger Group chief executive Jim Moser this week confirmed the consolidation of the Auckland-based teams at Proximity and Touchcast under the Colenso BBDO brand.

Moser says this move has been made in response to the continued blurring of the lines between the roles fulfilled by Proximity and Touchcast, in particular.

He says that keeping these teams separate made it more difficult to collaborate on campaigns.

This move will see the Touchcast Auckland team of 25 digital specialists relocate to 100 College Hill from next year. Touchcast’s management staff, comprising Jacqui Copas (general manager), Mark Coleman (technical director), Dean Pomfrett (design director) and Steve Pountney (head of client service), will all take on leadership roles within the combined entity.

The merging of disparate businesses often leads to job cuts as overlapping roles are eliminated, but Moser says this isn’t the case in this instance given that there a number of job openings at Proximity.  

“We’re not anticipating any staff being let go,” he says.

Andrew Hawley, who has until now served as the managing director for Touchcast across both Auckland and Wellington, will help manage the transition of the business into Colenso.

“I want Andrew to focus on the Wellington business,” says Moser.

Moser says these changes will not impact the Wellington business and that Touchcast Wellington will continue to operate as a separate business.

“[Touchcast] Wellington is slightly different,” he says. “It is a much more substantial business and has a broader range of clients.”

Touchcast Auckland on the other hand has predominantly worked with Spark, which also happens to be an important client for Colenso. 

Moser did, however, say that the Clemenger Group would look into integrating Touchcast Wellington into Clemenger BBDO, but that this would largely depend on the circumstances at the time.

Speaking more broadly about the industry, Moser says that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for digital specialist agencies to function independently.

He says that around five to eight years ago, there was a real need for specialists because they offered something that the major agencies didn’t have.

Over the last few years, the bigger players have, however, caught up, upskilling their staff and making digital central to their operations.

That said, Moser still believes there’s space for specialisation, but only if the agency can offer clients a unique set of capabilities, not available with their current agency partners. 

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