Saatchi & Saatchi DGS Launches in New Zealand

Auckland - Saatchi & Saatchi has announced the launch of a significant business to offer New Zealand's most powerful ideas in the digital and direct space.

Saatchi & Saatchi DGS will bring together three of the industry's most respected players in partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand. Interactive Creative Director Aaron Dustin and Digital and Direct GM Tony Gardner are joining forces with Creative Director Matt Shirtcliffe to form the new venture.

Matt, who is returning home from Toronto for the new role at Saatchi DGS (Dustin, Gardner, Shirtcliffe), led the Creative Department at AimProximity Auckland between 1999-2007 before moving to Proximity Canada. Other key members of the Saatchi DGS team will include Jen Rolfe (currently on maternity leave) and Executive Producer Teina Herzer.

Mike O'Sullivan, Saatchi & Saatchi Executive Creative Director says the group is delighted to bring Matt on board.

"Matt is arguably New Zealand's most successful and high profile direct creative director - he's created great ideas for clients such as Air New Zealand, Bank of New Zealand and Telecom and he has an impressive record at all the international and local awards, including Cannes, ECHOs, Caples," he said. "He is also the first Kiwi to ever be recognised with the Wunderman Award.

"We're thrilled with his appointment and with the formation of Saatchi & Saatchi DGS, which is a logical move to expand our specialist offering. We were the first agency to offer digital more than ten years ago, and in the last four years we have expanded our digital and direct team from 10 to more than 30 people ... and there are another 58 people within the agency with significant digital and direct experience."

Being named the number three agency in the world in direct at Cannes earlier this month further supported the agency's credentials.

"Virtually every major brief we are working on now has elements of digital, direct, shopper marketing and sustainability. We are passionate about seeing the world through New Zealanders' eyes and understanding the most powerful ways to effectively engage people, not just to connect with them ... or, even worse, interrupt and annoy them," O'Sullivan says.

Saatchi & Saatchi DGS will operate out of the top floor of the agency's Parnell building in Auckland. It will start with 32 specialists in digital and direct strategy, data analytics, creative, production and account service. It will continue to service current digital and direct clients of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand including Telecom, AA, Contact, Toyota, Daihatsu, NZ Post, NZ Army, TVNZ, Griffins, New World and WWF.

Saatchi & Saatchi DGS GM Tony Gardner says the new business venture shows Saatchi & Saatchi's ongoing commitment to offer the big ideas for the future.

"That future includes digital solutions that appropriately combine ideas with data of various types, from more traditional CRM to online and mobile behavioural data. The open web is becoming a mass marketing tool and redefining customer engagement.

"We are in expansion mode and are committed to offering our clients the best user-centric digital and direct solutions, backed up by bullet proof systems and capabilities. The launch of Saatchi DGS dovetails with a global move by our Network deep into the digital space, a move which has included the Publicis Groupe acquisition of Digitas - the global digital giant that has transformed from a direct background to one of the world's top digital solutions providers, for US$2.5b 18 months ago. Saatchi & Saatchi DGS will partner with Digitas and the Saatchi & Saatchi Global Digital team, which is creatively led by Tom Eslinger, ex-Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand."

Matt Shirtcliffe says Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand has a global reputation as one of the very best ideas companies, with an unparalleled ability to marry creative with channel capabilities.

"Agencies can pride themselves on having experts in channels and technology. But judging Direct Lions at Cannes this year was a pertinent reminder that, regardless of the channel, work will only succeed if it offers true emotional engagement. And that's where I think Saatchi & Saatchi already has an unbeatable reputation. So I'm stoked to be joining them when they're at their best and with a clear ambition to create the new ideas company of the future," he commented.

"I believe the future of communications is around that partnership between digital and direct smarts and emotionally compelling content. We can do all of that with Saatchi & Saatchi DGS. Plus there's the added benefit of fishing for snapper with Mike off Waiheke. Not bad considering you mostly need an ice-saw to go fishing round here."

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