It's finally official: Saatchi & Saatchi Australia has snared multi awarded DDB Sydney creative director Steve Back to replace David Nobay as Executive Creative Director. At the same time Saatchi's has managed to lure senior creative Dave Bowman from Droga5, New York as creative group head to team with Back.
They are both former Saatchi creatives, having worked together here at Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand as Creative Group Heads. Both are highly awarded, with Back ranked number 6 and Bowman number 7 in Australasia in the 2007 Campaign Brief Creative Rankings.
Originally a star at Marketforce in Perth, Back (pictured right) first worked at George Patterson Sydney followed by a highly awarded stint at Leo Burnett Sydney. Back played a major role in Leo's winning CB Agency of the Year in 2000. Back then spent several years in London before being enticed to New Zealand to join Colenso BBDO. Mike O'Sullivan then lured Back as Head of Art when he was appointed ECD of Saatchi & Saatchi NZ. The agency went on the win CB NZ Agency of the year in 2006 and 2007.
At DDB Sydney, Back has dramatically re energized the agency, moving them to equal number one Australian agency in The Work 07 with Saatchi & Saatchi Australia. Under Back, DDB Sydney was the only Australian agency to get gongs at all four of the top international award shows (D&AD, The One Show, Clio and Cannes) this year. Currently DDB Sydney is ranked number 10 in the world in the 2007 BestAds Creative Rankings (www.bestadsontv.com).
Bowman (above left) made his rep at The Glue Society, Sydney where he co created the Virgin Mobile "Warren" campaign that won the Cannes Direct Grand Prix in 2004, as well as the Virgin Mobile "5 Cents", which won Australia's first Titanium Lion at Cannes in 2005. He then had a two year stint at Saatchi NZ where he continued to win awards at Cannes, D&AD and AWARD. More recently, amongst other Droga5 projects, Dave has recently completed work on the mammoth Honeyshed project for Droga5, New York (in association with Publicis).
Says Saatchi Australia CEO Simone Bartley (above centre): “Several months ago we began an international search for an ECD who would fit with Saatchi’s ideas-centric culture, whose creative approach was fresh and innovative and who had a global perspective. But it was also critical that our ECD was able to understand the Australian culture, what makes us laugh, cry and engage with our brands. On every count there was no better candidate than Steve and we are delighted that he will be leading our creative team through a very exciting period at Saatchi & Saatchi.
“Dave has spent the past 12 months gaining invaluable international experience in brand entertainment content with Droga5 in New York and is returning to Saatchi to help us expand our offering through our new division, Saatchi Substance," said Ms Bartley. “There is no question Dave has led the way in this market having won Australia’s first Titanium. Now he returns with even more experience to bring to Saatchi clients.”
The agency’s repositioning came earlier this year with the appointment of award-winning Brian Merrifield as Group Creative Head of Digital (ex Saatchi Auckland); and more recently, Bram Williams as the new Head of Strategy.
“It’s important we lead the way in creating idea-centric campaigns that build a high return on involvement for our client’s brands,” said Ms Bartley. “It is now time for us to take another leap forward and these appointments will absolutely give us the edge in this market.”
Australia's Bob Isherwood, Worldwide Creative Director of Saatchi & Saatchi, personally led the intensive global search: “Steve and Dave were both top talent Saatchi & Saatchi boys who moved on to do other things," said Isherwood. “We’re very excited about the additional experience they’re now bringing home."
Ms Bartley said one of the agency’s great strengths was its ability to identify talent and nurture it. “We see Steve as a man of the moment with the creative flair and personal qualities that fit perfectly with our culture at Saatchi and that of our clients."
Says Back: “Saatchi is primed to explore new fields of opportunity and that’s something that Simone and I are completely in tune on. Reuniting with David gives us a chance to get on with unfinished business. We had a great thing happening at Saatchi in Auckland but the best is yet to come.
“We’ve travelled different paths since then and that just means there’ll be even more magic in the mix. But we know each other well enough to hit the ground running. This is going to a very exciting period for everyone, including our clients. The whole media landscape continues to change, and we’ll be at the forefront.”
His many awards include a Silver and three Bronze Lions at Cannes; a Silver and two Bronze Pencils at The One Show; five Acceptances at D&AD; four Bronze at Clio; six Silvers and 17 Bronze Pencils at AWARD; two ADMA Gold; plus one Silver and three Bronze Bullets at Young Guns.
Back will take up his position at Saatchi shortly and Bowman at the beginning of 2008.