Arrivals & Departures: DDB NZ taps W+K star for new MD role

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AUCKLAND, Today: DDB NZ has announced the appointment of Chris Willingham, formerly global business director of Nike at Wieden + Kennedy, to the new role of managing director in Godzone.

Most recently based out of W+K’s Portland office, Willingham has worked in the ad industry for 25+ years at some of the world’s most successful agencies, with some of the world’s biggest and most influential brands.

“He’s led teams and agencies that have produced some of the most famous and effective communications of the past two decades,” says ceo Justin Mowday.

During that time, he’s won four Cannes Grand Prix and a rarely awarded D&AD Black Pencil.

Willingham’s work on Nike saw him lead the business across all eight W + K network offices. His tenure included the 2016 Olympics and the 2018 World Cup, plus oversight of noteworthy work such as Nothing Beats a Londoner, Breaking 2 (an attempt to break the men’s marathon record), and the ongoing Equality campaign in North America.

His nine years at Fallon London, where he was managing partner, saw Chris working on iconic campaigns like the Cadbury Gorilla and Sony Bravia’s Bouncing Balls and leading several successful new business pitches.


“He’s also a down-to-earth good guy who will be embarrassed by a press release focussing on his achievements!”

Mowday said DDB NZ established the MD role following a year of strong growth, new business wins and a pipeline of successful campaigns.

“Chris will bring invaluable global experience to the business, providing fantastic insight into the implementation of large-scale, world-leading integrated campaigns,” he said.

“Chris is absolutely world-class, and it’s a real coup to have someone involved in so many iconic campaigns joining our team. Importantly, he’s also a down-to-earth, good guy, who will be embarrassed by a press release focussing on his achievements!”

Mowday reckons the appointment paves the way for an outstanding 2019. “We’ve been recognised this year as New Zealand’s most effective agency, and with the addition of Chris to the team I’m excited to see us produce even more world-beating work that grows our clients’ business.”

Willingham says he’s been watching the work coming out of DDB NZ with great interest and is looking forward to taking on this new challenge.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be joining DDB New Zealand – not just because it’s consistently producing the best work in New Zealand but also because of its ambition to consistently produce some of the best work in the world.

“I look forward to working with the team to deliver on that ambition and to push the boundaries of what’s possible from the bottom right-hand corner of the world.”

About DDB New Zealand
At DDB New Zealand we create influence for our clients by making original ideas that compel people to feel, do and think. This belief, combined with a genuine desire to drive tangible growth for our clients, has seen DDB ranked New Zealand’s most creative agency over the last 10 years by Best Ads on TV, and named New Zealand’s most effective agency at the Effies. DDB is part of the DDB Group, which also comprises Track (customer experience, CRM and data-driven marketing), Interbrand (strategy & design) and Mango (PR, experiential, social).


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