The inside track of AdForum's twice-annual World Summits
Johanna McDowell counsels clients and agencies around expectations in the advertising, marketing process. She is CEO of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), a division of black-owned marketing services group Mazole Holdings. Contact Johanna on tel +27 (0)10 594 0281, email her at and follow her on Twitter at @jomcdowell.
Born and educated in the UK, Johanna McDowell graduated from Twickenham College of Technology with a business and marketing qualification in the early 1970s.
Her initial employment positions were in the retail and marketing spheres, the latter post being with United Biscuits, a listed company specialising in the manufacture and distribution of biscuits and crips in the UK.
Moving to South Africa in the late 70s, McDowell joined SSC&B Lintas, one of the largest advertising agencies in the country at that time. After five years, she moved to Grey-Phillips, Bunton, Mundel & Blake, considered then as one of the hottest new ad agencies in SA in the early 80s.
McDowell returned to UK in the late 80s and took up a position as new business and marketing development director at UK Top Twenty ad agency group Brookes & Vernons, where she remained until 1989. Returning to SA late 1989 to take up the position of MD at Grey Philips, McDowell found a changed landscape at that agency and within the industry, due to the extensive changes happening in the country at that time.
From Grey, McDowell moved to Allied Bank as head of marketing in 1991, where she oversaw the partial merger of Allied into Absa until 1992.
An entrepreneur at heart, McDowell opened her own integrated communications company in 1992 and built it to a sizeable (R8 million turnover and 20 staff), independently owned company over 13 years before moving to Mazole Holdings in 2005.
IAS was founded in SA by Mazole Holdings in 2006 in response to the recognised need for a service that would assist in the professionalisation of the industry in SA. Affiliated to the AAR Group in the UK, IAS has quickly been establishing its reputation as an independent advisor to both parties during the pitch process.
In addition to her duties as CEO of the IAS, Johanna McDowell is chief executive and 40% shareowner of Mazole Holdings, a black-owned marketing services group whose other shareholder is Dan Moyane, chairman of the company.
Throughout her career, McDowell has been dedicated to the development and empowerment of women in business. She founded and headed the Midlands branch of the original business women's Network in the UK during the mid 1980s. She has played a leading role in business women's organisations in SA and the UK since the mid 80s and was chairman of the Business Woman of the Year Awards for two years.
McDowell is a board member of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), judging at international PR awards on their behalf over the past 13 years. She is also committed to the improvement of standards of director education and has played a strong role within the Institute of Directors of Southern Africa (IOD) in a voluntary capacity, currently holding a board membership at the organisation.
Contact Johanna on tel +27 (0)10 594 0281, email her at and follow her on Twitter at @jomcdowell.
PARIS, FRANCE: From 8am until 23.30pm, 30 consultants from all over the world visited and met with six agency groups throughout day two of the 2012 AdForum Worldwide Summit in Paris.
Starting with Full Six, one of the largest agencies in Europe - independent, fully integrated - and then a visit to a small island in the Bois de Boulogne, where we were met by Saatchi & Saatchi EMEA head Robert Senior, who laid out the picture of Saatchi in the here and now. Fascinating reinvention of the agency.
FF is a fully integrated agency, born from digital, with a stellar range of clients and exceptional creative work, plus a new office in Shanghai as well as offices in Europe.
Buzzman, a digital specialist which outsources all of its technology and thus can choose from the very best, was another interestingly independent French agency, with an office in Paris and the intention of opening in the Middle East.
Superb campaigns for Bic and Durex gave the consultants fun and laughter before we headed off to the Havas Group meeting with Euro RSCG and BETC. Judging the Creative Business Idea Awards for Euro is one of the tasks that the consultants complete each year at the summit.
BETC – a newly formed division of Havas – spent a lot of time telling us about its growth and plans before steering us to more wine-tasting and cheeses than we could ever manage. The views across Paris from its agency building are just superb.
Thirty tired consultants arrived back at the hotel just before midnight, having spent 14 hours on the road, without a break, but all ready for day three of the summit and an opening meeting with Publicis Groupe head Maurice Levy at breakfast.
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this is very informative "BETC – a newly formed division of Havas – spent a lot of time telling us about its growth and plans before steering us to more wine-tasting and cheeses than we could ever manage." I want to thank you for sharing this information