Adelaide advertising market becoming increasingly crowded

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 1 April 2022
L-R: Nine's Troy Sokol, TBWA's Patrick O’Reilly, and OMD Adelaide & Jarvis Marketing's Mark Elsdon

Independent agencies in Adelaide need to stick together and push back against increasing competition from outside players, says OMD Adelaide and Jarvis Marketing MD Mark Elsdon.

Speaking at AdNews' Adelaide Live event this week, Elsdon says the South Australia market is becoming increasingly challenging for independents.

“It’s one of the most exciting times to work in the business in Adelaide, but we’re still fighting for relevance,” Elsdon says.

"I have a business here so it’s very important to me. I want to make sure there's a future here for my employees and everybody else.”

Elsdon noted that a key challenge is that the market is becoming increasingly crowded with global and interstate agencies. He also argued the creative output in the state needs to improve.

“Our creative standards have to increase, we have to get braver clients,” he says.

“As an industry, we are pretty divided. We all look after our own patch but from a media and advertising point-of-view we have to come together.

"It’s really great to see so many people here today because that’s a start but we have to fight back because the pie is getting smaller and there are more players in Adelaide trying to get to that pie so it’s a very challenging environment.

“If you look at the advertising industry as a whole there’s lots of internationals, interstates biting at our heels and setting up in town. All those things are challenging the Adelaide industry, some are good, some are not so good. From my point-of-view, I want to see independent agencies survive and thrive and I’d love to do something about it.”

Elsdon added that another challenge is that clients are taking work in-house or doing direct deals with media.

“So the advertising industry itself, which I’m representing, is under threat right now in Adelaide because we have interstate or international agencies rolling in,” he says. “We have to fight back as best we can.”

Elsdon was joined on the panel by TBWA senior creative Patrick O’Reilly who argued global agencies provide local creatives with better resources.

“Having TBWA come into Adelaide is a fantastic opportunity for me becuase it means I get to live in what I think is the best state in Australia,” O’Reilly says.

“I’m able to work on stuff from all over the world. I'm also able to work on stuff in Adelaide, so while TBWA is a global organisation, everybody who's in the TBWA office in Adelaide has a mortgage here in South Australia so it’s creating opportunities there for people who want to grow as creatives.

“The challenge going forward is the same whether it's global or state-based, and that’s the bravery of the clients.”

Thank you to our Adelaide Live supporting partners Carat, LiSTNR, News Corp Australia, Nine, PubMatic, and Wavemaker, as well as associate partners MiQ and co-curators AMC and AADC.

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