Morris, who spent several years at the creative helm of Draftfcb Johannesburg before leaving the agency late in 2006 for a stint on the other side of the table as a client, has returned to the team responsible for building South Africa's favourite brands (note 1) as Group Executive Creative Director. He replaces the long-serving Ashley Bacon, who has decided to forgo the advertising executive lifestyle for a while and recharge his batteries.
Morris will assume overall responsibility for the Group's creative product, including advertising, below-the-line, digital and design capabilities.
Under Morris' leadership, the Johannesburg agency won more awards than ever before in its 80-year history, including South Africa's first ever Cannes Grand Prix in 2006. He also has 12 gold Loeries, six Cannes Lions, five Clios, two D&AD entries, four One Show merits, two Ad of the Years, New York Festival Gold and London International Gold to his credit. Other recent career highlights include two AdReview Campaigns of the Year in 2005 and 2006 and Sunday Times Marketing Excellence Grand Prix for Campaign of the Year 2006.
His return to Draftfcb South Africa has been eagerly anticipated by staff and clients alike, said Group CEO, John Dixon.
“Since I announced Brett's return just over three weeks ago, the excitement in the agencies - that's in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg - has been positively palpable,” he said. “Those who worked with Brett during his seven year stint at Draftfcb Johannesburg know exactly what to expect, while those who only know him by reputation have been awaiting his arrival with ill-concealed expectancy. Most importantly, our clients are also very upbeat about his return.”
“From my point-of-view, Brett is a consummate professional and ground-breaking creative. He has a clear understanding of where we have come from as an agency, but equally important where we're headed. I worked closely with Brett when I headed up Draftfcb Johannesburg, and I'm delighted on a business level, and on a personal one, to welcome him back into the building,” he said.
According to Dixon, Bacon had committed to staying with the group for as long as it took to find a suitable replacement. However, things moved much quicker than expected with Morris indicating his willingness to rejoin the group within weeks of Bacon resigning. Morris had left Draftfcb about two years ago to join Nandos as their Chief Creative Officer. Most recently, he has been running his own agency called ‘The Scoville Unit'.
Added Dixon: “Brett's return is especially sweet: not only do we replace Ashley with another top class GECD, but we incorporate the Scoville Unit into the Johannesburg agency, adding both quality clients and staff members to the Group."
For his part, Morris is pleased to be back. “I have many memories of how my seven years at Draftfcb - same agency, different name - shaped my thinking and my career,” he said.
“It was always an exciting place to work, with an amazing list of brands, and partners who really understand the power of great branding through-the-line. I look forward to renewing old relationships with some of the best clients in the business.
“I'm also looking forward to working with the strong creative team Draftfcb has onboard - ECDs Marthinus Duckitt and Grant Jacobsen in Johannesburg; Francois de Villiers and Glynn Venter in Cape Town, and James Dodd and Alexis Visser in Durban; as well as the wealth of creative talent working with them - to ensure that Draftfcb's creative product continues on an upward trajectory.”Note 1: Confirmation of Draftfcb's creative performance.
Note 2: Brett Morris's full CV
- A strong showing at The Loerie Awards 2008 saw Draftfcb South Africa rank second as a group for that competition.
- On the Millward Brown Impact Best Liked Ads lists for 2007 (published in the first quarter of 2008) it achieved seven out of the 20 most liked ads in the developed market category and seven out of the 20 most liked ads in the emerging market grouping. This is a remarkable achievement given that the group's agencies achieved considerable success in previous years:
- In 2005, the group dominated the liking lists with four out of the top 10 most liked ads in the LSM A market; and four out of the top 10 in the LSM B market.
- Its performance in 2006 topped that when its agencies were responsible for four out of 10 of the most liked ads, including the two top-placed ads, and a phenomenal nine out of 20 best noted ads in the LSM A market.
- At the 2008 Apex Awards, the group was awarded two out of only three Gold awards made. In the Launch category, Draftfcb Johannesburg took Gold for the Toyota Yaris campaign while Draftfcb Cape Town was awarded Gold for Savannah ‘The Cider House Rules' campaign in the category known as ‘Sustain'.
Brett stumbled into a career in advertising while fleeing a career in law. Early refuge was provided by Draftfcb South Africa (then Lindsay Smithers) in 1995. It turned out to be the best year of his career because South Africa won the Rugby World Cup. Otherwise, it was pretty uneventful so he decided to move on and bluffed his way into a job at Network BBDO.
In 1999 he rejoined Draftfcb Johannesburg (then FCB-Lindsay Smithers), and was appointed Executive Creative Director in 2003 after just eight years in the industry. Under his leadership, the agency won more awards than ever before in its 80-year history, including South Africa's first ever Cannes Grand Prix in 2006. He also has 12 gold Loeries, six Cannes Lions, five Clios, two D&AD entries, four One Show merits, two Ad of the Years, New York Festival Gold and London International Gold to his credit.
Other recent career highlights include two AdReview Campaigns of the Year in 2005 and 2006 and Sunday Times Marketing Excellence Grand Prix for Campaign of the Year 2006. Draftfcb also dominated Millward Brown Impact's most Liked & Noted Commercials list in both the emerging and developed markets in 2005 and 2006.
Then in 2007 he decided to cross the road and join Nando's as Global Chief Creative Officer, to take the brand into new creative territory. Then with a desire to expand his creative horizons again, formed The Scoville Unit in April 2008 - a creative task force that specializes in holistic brand solutions. The agency quickly built a strong client base, including the likes of Nando's, NetFlorist and Constantia Insurance. In April 2009 he was persuaded to rejoin Draftfcb as the Group Executive Creative Director.
Brett is also a published fiction, non-fiction, editorial and feature film scriptwriter but without doubt, the best work he has ever produced, is his daughter Jolie, who was born in January 2008 (pictures available on request). Brett also sits on The Loerie Awards committee and was elected as the Loerie advertising jury chairman in 2008. He also sits on the board of the Radio Advertising Bureau of South Africa and before his brief departure from the advertising industry, was ranked as one of the top 4 creative directors in the country by his peers.