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Hermaneutics: The ECD Shuffle

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The advertising industry in focus from the editor of By Herman Manson (@marklives)


The last few weeks saw quite a bit of movement in senior agency positions. Fran Luckin, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg, was poached by digital agency Quirk Johannesburg and joins the agency on July 1st. Jonathan Deeb, currently ECD at Havas Worldwide Johannesburg & Havas Worldwide Digital Johannesburg (the recently rebranded Euro RSCG Group), is to join Draftfcb Johannesburg as ECD from July 15 this year. Eoin Welah steps into Deeb’s shoes, leaving open a spot at Leo Burnett Johannesburg.


Mariana O’Kelly was appointed co-executive creative director at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg, where she will work alongside Neo Mashigo, ex-Draftfcb, who joined Ogilvy in February.


On management level, several changes have been announced, and at least one position left temporarily vacant, including news that Ogilvy Cape Town MD Gavin Levinsohn is resigning his position at the end of the year to emigrate to Australia.


Godfrey Morley, Managing Director at Draftfcb Cape Town, is taking up the position of Chairman of the Cape Town agency starting July 1. It was recently announced that Eric D’oliveira, currently Managing Director at 140 BBDO, would replace Morley at Draftfcb Cape Town.


At the moment no news on who will replace Levinsohn at Ogilvy CT or D’oliveira at 140 BBDO.


All this movement makes a recent opinion piece on the coming and going of creative talant at ad agencies by Draftfcb Johannesburg MD Alistair Mokoena all the more relevant. “As someone who vacillates between running an ad agency and relaxing through wildlife photography, I find the seasonal migration of various animal species fascinating,” wrote Mokoena.


“The migration of talent used to be limited to advertising agencies. Now we are witnessing lots of movement of talent from traditional advertising agencies to small below the line shops, digital shops as well as to the client side, and vice versa.”


Although all agencies put a positive spin on losing senior personnel (renewal, new blood, renewed focus are all popular refrains), Mokoena rightly points out that such movement, and especially at the level and on the scale mentioned above, leads to disruption to business operations.


“As an advertising agency, your creative talent is your lifeblood. The more senior the talent, the greater the disruption because these highly decorated folk often have a team reporting into them and many more idolising them,” says Mokoena, who notes that often team members leave to follow their creative idols.


Mokoena is right when he suggests that perhaps clients would be better served if a premium was placed on the ideas ECDs and their teams excecute so well rather than on the individuals involved.


The opinions expressed in this column are by the author and do not necessarily represent those of 10and5. 


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