Despite a stellar year for the Clemenger Group gang, both in terms of awards won and cash banked, there have been a few mutterings around the traps of late about axes falling at Colenso and AIM Proximity. And while the seemingly OTT figure of 20 departures has been bandied about, Colenso’s managing director Nick Garrett says that’s certainly not the case and says it’s just slight reshuffling of the pack to respond to the current demands of clients.”We’ve been looking for quite some time at this,” Garrett says. “We’re adding value to our clients’ businesses by investing in more senior and creative staff. There’s going to be a lot less focus on production.”
While Garrett didn’t mention any numbers, Clemenger Group’s big cheese Jim Moser told the NBR five or six staff had been talked to.
Interestingly, for an agency renowned for creating great ads, Garrett says making them is now seen as a something of a commodity by clients. It’s the strategic insights and big ideas that can be used to solve client’s problems or, in the case of Colenso, inform the direction of a new product or service by being closer to the client at the start of the process, they see the value in.
“For us it’s just making sure we’ve got enough bandwidth to partner with our clients and work with them further upstream. But this is an industry thing, not just a Colenso thing… It’s about being future focused.”
In some ways, this restructure (some less prosaic types might just call it a removal of a few deadweights) seems to show Colenso heading in the direction of the consultancy model favoured by the likes of Assignment Group and Federation, with planning and strategy taken care of by the inner sanctum and the hard yards often farmed out. And by removing some of the production capability at the agency, Garrett says this might mean “clients are going to be more interested in that freelance model”.