It's full steam ahead at MetropolitanRepublic, says founder and partner, Paul Warner, and joining the integrated creative advertising agency to help stoke the coals is Gareth Lessing, in the position of Executive Creative Director.
Lessing - whose awards haul includes Grand Prix and five Gold, three Silver and four Bronze awards at Cannes, along with 76 awards at the Loeries, including three Grands Prix - joins MetropolitanRepublic at a time when the agency is stamping its authority in the integrated, digital, e-commerce and product development sphere.
After starting his career in a small agency, Lessing joined TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, working with such luminaries as John Hunt and Tony Granger.
His time at Hunts ended when he joined Lowe Bull Johannesburg as Creative Director under global Chief Creative Officer Matthew Bull. The latter left South Africa and Lessing got the role of Executive Creative Director in Johannesburg.
Three years on, he was approached by DDB South Africa, at the time a small agency lacking serious creative credentials. He made the move and started there as Executive Creative Director and executive committee member.
"This was a challenge for him... it was a great experience for Gareth as they won not only their fair share of creative and effective awards, but also a Cannes Grand Prix," says Warner.
Lessing left DDB South Africa in pursuit of his next challenge: to start his own agency, The Nest. However, he admits: "Starting my own shop spoilt the fun, I guess. It's now time to join a family again and do groundbreaking work in the ever-challenging world we call advertising."
His many other awards include 17 Clios (with 26 entries into book), 19 Eagle Awards (including one Black Eagle), 5 awards at The One Show (and 30 entries into book). He has worked on myriad brands, including the SABC, MTN, Shield, Honda, Unilever, McDonald's, Land Rover, Sasol, BMW, Dulux, Tiger Brands, Nando's and Steers.
He says he is looking forward to focusing on what matters most in any great agency: the people and the work.
MetropolitanRepublic now employs nearly 170 staff across six offices in Johannesburg (head office), Cape Town, Zambia, Swaziland, Rwanda and Uganda.