NZ ad agency book hailed as ‘gamechanger’

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Over 80 agency glitterati joined together at K Rd’s Thievery Productions on Wednesday night to celebrate the launch of a groundbreaking new book by New Zealander Sarah Ritchie, titled How to Wrestle an Octopus: an agency account manager’s guide to pretty much everything.

One of the featured speakers for the evening, Catherine Harris (MD at TBWA\Auckland) was unable to attend due to sickness, so Mark Pickering (director of Brand Spanking) stepped in to fill the gap.

Ritchie, an Auckland-based recruitment & business consultant, shared her four-year journey of writing this industry resource for account managers of all levels. She has been able to combine her own 25+ years of agency experience with the experiences of over 850 heads of agencies, heads of client service teams, and account managers from 30 different countries.

Her interviews and research also spanned the agency spectrum of advertising, design, experiential, PR, and media.

“Octopus is quickly becoming a bible at Culture & Theory – an amazing resource and insights all in one place.”

She highlighted the importance of the account management role, and the ability of individuals to influence the success or failure of both their clients and their agencies. She believes that strong account managers = strong agencies = a strong industry, and is convinced that once her book is read, and the advice actioned, that an account manager will have an indispensable toolkit to help keep their clients happy, plus increase revenue and profit for their agency.

“I had no pre-determined length of book in mind,” she says. “I just stopped writing when I felt that I had covered everything that account managers need to know.” (As a result, How to Wrestle an Octopus is massive in both size and content!)

“The book is an impressive training tool and gives agency management the chance to offer a cost-efficient professional development opportunity for their staff,” said Jonte Goldwater, strategy director at Auckland strategic brand agency Culture &Theory.

“This book is quickly becoming a bible at Culture &Theory – an amazing resource and insights all in one place.

“By the end of the launch evening, it was evident that Sarah’s book has the potential to be a game-changer for the creative communications industry and a mighty good read!”

  • To buy a copy and you live in NZ, go to Sarah Ritchie’s website here:; if you are overseas, the book can be purchased from Amazon USA, Canada, UK, and Europe. Octopus costs US$59.90 (NZ$86).

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