One of Cape Town's hottest agencies is preparing to light its fire in Johannesburg's advertising industry kitchen and offer upcountry clients splendid creative fare.
On March 1 this year, FCB South Africa will re-brand the Rivonia-based agency Azaguys as Joe Public (Johannesburg), effectively turning the Mother City's Joe Public Take-Away Advertising into a national entity with agencies in Cape Town and Johannesburg, a total staff of 50 and billings of around R110-million.
As a result of the merger, Pepe Marais, the highly respected creative head at Joe Public Cape Town, will be able to serve up his zesty style of creative advertising to a broader client base. He will relocate to Johannesburg and become group creative director of the merged entity.
FCB CEO Neil van der Weele is very upbeat about the merger, and believes it will pay a key role in extending the group's marketing communication menu.
He explained: "After FCB South Africa concluded its BEE deal in August last year, I was free to critically examine the group and its marketing communication offerings. Two issues stood out – FCB South Africa needed a really strong second-agency brand; and Azaguys required a new positioning, as the agency did not hold a really clear position in the market.
"At that time, there were two second-agency brands in the group – Azaguys and Joe Public. FCB South Africa acquired the former in 1999 and the latter in 2001. Both were good brands with their own significant strengths, but neither was as strong as it could have been. This prompted us to look at merging the two brands to form one much stronger whole, utilising their respective strengths as the platform for future growth.
"This is very exciting way to start the year. I'm thrilled to give Pepe the opportunity to make his mark on a national basis; he really is one of the leading creative talents in the country, and he will add a lot of impetus to Joe Public (Johannesburg)."
Joe Public burst onto the Cape advertising scene just five years ago with a revolutionary model, that encouraged clients to 'order' their advertising solutions from a 'take-away menu' offering 'rare' – quick turnaround jobs for clients with rigid time constraints or low budgets, 'medium' – when time and permitted a more considered solution, and 'well-done' options – for those clients who required heavy-weight campaigns and detailed strategies.
The Cape Town agency, managed by MD Gareth Leck, who will be chief executive of the merged agency, was quick to prove that 'rare' campaigns could be just as successful and creative as those 'well-done'. One of its first awards was for a 'rare' job for Maverick Cycles in Somerset West, which was in and out the agency within four hours.
Joe Public's dynamic, fresh approach to advertising has helped grow its client base to include Ocean Basket, Cape Union Mart, M-Web Business Solutions, Armstrong Shock Absorbers, Kalahari.net, Cash Crusaders, Good Hope International Beverages and Oxford University Press SA as well as wine brands Long Beach Café and Robertson Winery, and they have played a big role in rekindling the spark in the Mother City's marketing industry.
Azaguys, one of the Top 20 agencies in the country size-wise, enjoys a long-term relationship with clients such as Clover and CTM, both of which readily acknowledge the major role played by the agency in establishing and growing its brands, as well as Estee Lauder, Italtile, Tivoli Taps and Excel. Azaguys' current managing director Ewald Fourie will continue as managing director of the Johannesburg operation.