DDB appoints Gary Steele as ECD

DDB NZ has announced the appointment of Gary Steele as executive creative director.

Steele was most recently head of the creative department at TBWA Singapore and has been named one of Singapore’s most influential creative directors for the last four years in a row.

Last year he spearheaded Singapore’s largest creative pitch, winning the hotly contested Singapore Airlines business.

Recent career highlights include developing the ‘Passion Made Possible’ brand platform for the Singapore Tourism Board, and a raft of award-winning campaigns with Airbnb.

Steele has also delivered more than 19 years of creative excellence at agencies across Africa, Asia and Europe.

DDB New Zealand chief creative officer Damon Stapleton says Steele’s appointment is big news for the agency and demonstrates the pull of the New Zealand creative scene.

“I think the global advertising industry is looking at New Zealand right now and wondering if there’s something special in the water down here,” Stapleton says.

“A few months ago, we announced Chris Willingham joining us from W+K Portland and now Gary’s joining the team as well – a world-class creative who was leading a highly awarded agency of 300+ people in Singapore.”

Stapleton says the appointment is a signal of intent.

“We tell our clients ‘our business is to grow yours’ and we’ve assembled a superstar team to do that. Bernbach said creativity is the last unfair advantage we’re allowed to take over our competitors, and I think between Gary and the incredible creative team we’ve developed internally over the last few years, we’re making sure our clients have every unfair advantage possible to grow their business.”

Steele says he’s watched the work coming out of DDB New Zealand with interest over the last few years so when the opportunity arose to join the team, he jumped at it.

“Watching DDB New Zealand from afar, I’ve seen some fantastic work that really caught my attention. Lotto’s succession of emotive TVC’s, the work on Speight’s, Re:scam – they’re the kind of projects you want to be a part of.”

Steele says the opportunity to work with Stapleton and the DDB NZ creative team was a big draw-card and something he’s very excited about.

“I can’t wait. Between the outstanding stable of brave clients DDB NZ is fortunate to have, and the exceptional creative team I’ll be working alongside, I can’t wait to get stuck in.

Steele will arrive in Auckland in May along with his family.

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