Indie ad agency Zoo closes Canberra office

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 16 April 2018
Group CEO Pawl Cubbin

Independent ad agency Zoo has closed its Canberra office to focus on its Singapore and Sydney shops in wake of increasing pressure from consultancies and shrinking client budgets, founder Pawl Cubbin tells AdNews.

The news follows the closure of Zoo’s Melbourne office eight months ago and a leadership shake-up in 2017, which saw the mass exodus of Sydney and Melbourne leadership, as well as Cubbin’s brother and co-founder, Si Cubbin.

The agency formed 20 years ago in Canberra before opening posts in Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore.

The agency’s clients, which include Unilever, Cricket Australia and ANU School of Music, have been advised that Zoo would close its doors from 6 May.

Cubbin says he will now turn his focus to the “successful” Singapore and Sydney businesses and the exit out of Canberra reflects the changing profile of businesses in the capital city.

“There are no medium size clients in Canberra and the independents have been bought out by multinationals,” he says, reflecting on why the agency is seeing more opportunity in other markets.

“Federal government work goes to a lot of newer consultancies, like PwC and Accenture, and the smaller stuff requires a lot of work and there isn’t much money in it.”

He adds that the business sees more opportunity in putting effort into winning big clients in Singapore rather than “chasing our tail” doing smaller stuff.

“We are putting our energy into where we are successful as opposed to energy trying to make money on smaller clients work. It’s a smart business move,” he says.

In August last year, AdNews revealed that both the Melbourne and Sydney leaders of Zoo were exiting the business and the Sydney and Melbourne offices were being scaled back.

At the time, Cubbin told AdNews there was a “huge opportunity” in Melbourne and it wasn’t closing either of its offices.

Cubbin has now confirmed that the Melbourne office closed “six to eight months ago” – around the time he refuted the rumour to AdNews.

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