A tale of two cities

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FCB NZ has stated the obvious to deflect any collateral fallout from the lingering death and final closure of FCB Australia after 20 years in the market. “From a NZ perspective, this is a fantastic opportunity,” said FCB NZ managing director Brian van den Hurk.

FCB Sydney will be gone within a month, and many of the agency’s globally-aligned clients and some staff are expected to transfer to indie shop AJF Partnership in August.

Back home, however, the NZ agency’s fortunes could not be more different than those of its Aussie sibling. FCB is one of the top three agencies in NZ – both in billings and awards – and if anything, is getting stronger.

“We believe this is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen our Trans-Tasman offering,” van den Hurk told M+AD.

“FCB will still be present in the Australian market as an affiliate of AJF, with FCB staff and clients joining their team.

“This will create an even stronger overall business, with a focus on effective campaigns and creating change for clients.”

“This new Trans-Tasman offering will have great benefits for our existing clients and will create new business opportunities in both markets.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with our FCB Sydney colleagues, and building a strong relationship with the team at AJF.”

FCB Australia has been struggling to win business, and was hit hard by the loss of SC Johnson in Sydney and Honda in Melbourne.

Digby Richards, managing director of AJF Partnership Sydney, told Aussie ad site B&T that five senior staff will be moving from FCB to AJF. The new staff will swell AJF Sydney’s workforce to just under 30.

He would not comment on how many FCB redundancies will follow in the wake of the affiliation.

FCB Australia clients include Oreo, Nivea, Lindt, Nivea Men and Wattyl Paint, but it’s not yet clear which companies will make the move to AJF.

He described AJF’s partnership with FCB as a “non-equity affiliation” and said there would be no on-going relationship beyond AJF tapping into the FCB network from an intelligence point of view.

“There are no plans in that regard, it is just a commercial arrangement to help them in Australia,” Richards told B&T.

“Their approach is to get the best people in the market to help service their multi-national clients and luckily they chose us.”

Richards said he was excited to welcome the clients and five staff who are coming across, describing them as “grownups, not kids”.

“They have a similar culture to us which is business orientated, creative solutions. It’s not just about wacky ads, it is about helping clients grow their businesses.”

The agency closed its Melbourne office in 2012 following the loss of Honda.

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