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Big blow for Droga5 as it closes Sydney outpost

This isn’t just a case of being wise after the event but I’ve had a feeling that Droga5 wasn’t an entirely happy ship ever since the sale of a 49 per cent stake to William Morris Entertainment (WME) a couple of years ago.

In July co-founder Andrew Essex quit, a move that was handled pretty seamlessly but you felt that Essex was the ideal counterpoint to David david-droga-chat-hed-2015Droga (left), who styles himself, vaingloriously some might think, creative chairman.

Now Droga has announced it’s closing its Sydney office – Droga is an Aussie – which it blames on self-inflicted mistakes, bad luck and an irrational Oz ad market. At one point Droga’s Sydney office was reported to employ hundreds of people. Sounds like a lack of TLC to me.

A similarly dire performance has been turned in by Droga Europe in London, which hasn’t won anything of note in two years of trying. It’s now installed a new management, headed by Bill Scott, formerly MD of Grey London. Scott is a capable operator no doubt, he spent over a decade in senior account roles at BBH. But the upper echelons of London agencies have been littered with former BBH suits who failed to take the BBH magic with them. BBH clients didn’t buy the suits, they bought John Hegarty and co.

The point about the Droga/WME deal was that it was supposed to bring together one of adland’s hot shops with a well-established and funded Hollywood agent/producer business, just the ticket for the wonderful new world of online content.

Might have looked good on paper. D5 needs to rethink its international ambitions. Which might possibly mean abandoning them.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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