DDB Melbourne: “I'm here to shake shit up”

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 18 June 2015
Dion Appel

DDB Melbourne's newly installed managing director Dion Appel is looking to shake things up and modernise the 66-year-old creative shop he took the reins of three months ago.

Appel, who formerly led the Lifelounge agency DDB acquired in March, told AdNews that under his stewardship, the agency will look to make the most of its heritage, but at the same time take a new direction by tapping into Lifelounge's former speciality – the youth market.

“This business does recognise that you just can’t just be a big elephant and survive moving forwards, you've got to do things differently, that's what I'm here to do.

“I'm here to shake shit up ... to modernise the way we do business to bring new perspectives, not just sit there and wait for the brief but create the brief. Take our speciality to turn a mainstream agency into something sparkly, new and sexy and that's what we can do.”

The agency has outlined a new vision for how it approaches things, based around the idea of love: loving the work, loving the clients and loving what it does.

Appel isn't perturbed by DDB's size or heritage when it comes to shifting how the agency deals with clients.

“The business needs to trade on its heritage, but also take the mindset of being a 66-year-old startup,” he says.

“By having an open mind and listening to your customer better, listening to your clients, we were once niche being segment focused, with a particular speciality in youth, youth was once niche, and now youth is mainstream – 18-25 year olds, millennials, will be the largest consumer group in this country,” he continued.

“When Lifelounge gets briefed it doesn't just sit in the DDB camp, it sits in DDB, it sits in Mango, it sits in Tribal, it sits in RAPP, it cross-functions all aspects of the business, and because DDB Melbourne has integrated as a group in recent months, that provides Lifelounge with the greatest opportunity ever for harnessing the full creative fire power across the group.”

Appel explained that everyone in the agency space is grappling with the same challenges, ranging from procurement to moving up the funnel to having strong relationships with clients, but he says DDB's acquisition of Lifelounge puts it ahead of the pack.

A version of this story originally appeared in the latest version of AdNews Magazine (12 June). Want more? You can subscribe both in Print and on your iPad here.

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