Atomic 212: The agile creative media model

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | Sponsored
Atomic 212's office in Millers Point

In this series, we are celebrating some of the agencies that won big at the AdNews Agency of the Year Awards this year.

Reconfigured from a media buying agency and data-driven search specialist three years ago, Atomic 212° now services all media and holds considerable sway as a creative agency with serious tech heft.

Founder Jason Dooris said it’s the revolution within the media industry fuelling the agency’s success, as the traditional model becomes less relevant.

“We are definitely seeing clients move towards streamlined services, and we have benefited from this, but moreover it’s integrating technology, creative and media that is our sweet spot. Regardless of what agencies say, if creative, media and tech are not under one roof and one P&L you will have issues,” he said.

“We are witnessing a revolution within the media industry. The rise of technology players and other alternatives to the traditional agency model has put pressure on the industry to reinvent itself, declare itself fit for purpose and rebuild bridges damaged through issues relating to transparency, effectiveness and fragmentation.”

Placing innovation at the core of the business, Dooris explained this has been a catalyst for the agency’s growth and success and a driving reason why he continues to re-iterate Atomic’s model.

Atomic robot Lucy 5Atomic 212's robot made global news last year

“The synergy between innovation and data encapsulates our business. These two notions are at the core of everything we do. It seems almost contradictory, but it makes sense, you need to combine return on investment with engaging ideas. This is why we think it is ludicrous in today’s contemporary landscape that media and creative agencies are still operating separately.”

The demand for a genuine “one-stop-shop” had led to the agency picking up work for Pharmacare, SAIC Motor Australia, Australian Unity, TAB and Origin Energy. Its growth in clients is staggering, as is the 100% client retention it boasts.

“Clients want a one-stop-shop or at least they want to have an agency partner who they know they can lean on across the spaces they don’t usually deal in. We might have a client who works with us in media or creative, who then wants to dip their toes into PR, and when they engage in something different they want a partner who they already trust and who has that breadth of skill,” Dooris said.

Founded with the philosophy that it could do good without the bad, Atomic 212° is passionate about its people and culture. Helped by its internal mantra of ‘Corporate Karma’, in 2016 it retained a remarkable 97% of its staff.

“The truth is that although our staff retention levels are high this has not been an easy process and not one without evolution. Our people are our greatest asset. I think what glues these people together culturally is the fact that they are so different,” Dooris said.

“Atomic 212° was conceptualised with the philosophy that we could do good without doing bad. We call it Corporate Karma and it extends beyond the bottom line. We believe that by being the first-choice agency for people and staff we will attract the best, retain the best and therefore be able to deliver excellent client service.”

For such a young agency, the achievements already accomplished are enough to make the oldest shop green with envy.

But Dooris is adamant that this is just the tip of the Atomic iceberg, as he and his leadership team eye their next move.

“There’s heaps on the horizon. We continue to expand geographically but with caution. We’re expecting big things from our new ECD Jonas Lembke, and chief strategy officer Ben Taylor and there are some other major hires that will be revealed in due course,” he hinted.

“We expect 2017 to be even bigger than 2016, and that is a tall order, but one we know we can deliver on. As of recently we are ranked the third top media agency in the world on the WARC rankings, and in some respects its quite daunting. It comes with a degree of responsibility. What I can say is that we are delighted to have brought our piece of Australia to the world and we are looking forward to the journey ahead.”

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