Banjo closes doors in Brisbane

By By David Blight | 5 August 2011
Andrew Varasdi.

Advertising agency Banjo has closed its Brisbane office, as a result of a slow market and natural disasters in the region.

Banjo Brisbane's managing director Stephen Forth has taken on the new role of managing director of SapientNitro Brisbane. AdNews understands he has taken at least one client with him - The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) - and possibly others. 

Other Banjo Brisbane clients included Central Queensland University, Australia Zoo, Queensland Tourism, Queensland Rail and the Queensland Teachers' Union. Banjo managing partner Andrew Varasdi said the majority of these clients have agency rosters and so would not need to immediately replace Banjo in the Brisbane market. 

Varasdi told AdNews: "We were delighted with the brands we worked with. But the reality is the revenue wasn't there - the Queensland market is not doing very well. The market was heavily impacted by the floods. Our Brisbane office was completely underwater at one stage."

The Brisbane office had six staff. Varasdi said that special efforts were made to relocate staff where possible. Account executive Shannon Duhig has been brought down to the Sydney office. Yestderday it was revealed that Banjo Brisbane's head planner Justin Gurney had been appointed by marketing agency Core as head of planning. 

In July, Forth told AdNews: "The market has been tough, there's no question about that, and this started towards the end of 2010. Floods and cyclones then hit and Queensland has been in holding pattern."

Varasdi said the closure of the Brisbane office would allow the agency to focus on its Sydney offering - which is planning several new hires in coming weeks. 

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