Protecting, not just promoting, brands: Daylight's mission

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 18 April 2019
Chris Mitchell

This first appeared in the AdNews April 2019 magazine and is part of a new feature AdNews introduced last year called Spotlight. Support AdNews by subscribing here.

Set up in 2017 with a goal to both promote and protect brands in today’s challenging and changing landscape, Daylight Agency has since joined a network of independents around the globe, giving it more power to take on its big ambitions. We speak with executive creative director Chris Mitchell to find out more

How did your business come about?
After enjoying great kudos for launching the Nikkei Asian Review and producing the Qantas ‘Feels like Home’ campaign, we were approached by specialist PR firm Icon Communications to see if we could work together to bring a new agency offering to the somewhat tired and stagnant world of advertising and marketing.

Having come from a successful business communications point of view, Chris Gray, Daylight Agency MD, was impressed by our big picture thinking and felt there was an exciting opportunity in the marketplace for an independent agency that could both promote brands (our expertise) and protect brands (Icon’s expertise) all under one P&L.

The result is Daylight. The idea clicked and we now have 22 people working here.

What do you do?
About three months ago, we joined forces with Worldwide Partners International (WPI), the largest network of independent agencies in the world, with 70+ agencies in 50 countries, giving us the resources of around 5000 people to draw upon.

Already, we have been part of a successful global pitch — led by our Swiss agency — for a major global pharma drug launch and we are co–developing a major tourism push with our colleagues in the US and China.

Our core strengths are advertising and production, digital and social, marketing, public relations and reputation management.

Daylight management

Daylight management

What is the company’s point of difference?
Any agency worth its salt can create an ad. But, our role goes deeper than this.

Our thinking is a client will value an agency more if it has the proven credentials to save a client’s reputation when the shit hits the fan, which in today’s rapidly changing business environment, it will invariably do.

Our team understands that reputations can be undone in a heartbeat, that’s why we take a holistic view of business and link brand promotion with brand protection. When promotion and protection are in balance it leads to brand health, business growth and reputational resilience.

The Daylight team is our major draw card. We have the perfect mix of highly experienced advisors and youthful digital natives. There is a spark in our culture that is positive, bright and contagious. It is our most valuable quality. It fuels our business and generates wildfire ideas.

Daylight Team
Daylight team

What are the biggest business and also wider industry challenges right now?
One of the most disturbing trends in global advertising and marketing at present is the disproportionate role and influence of procurement teams in the pitch process.

Procurement executives are not necessarily looking to recommend the smartest or the most creative agency. They are looking to identify the cheapest. Their KPIs are based on buying more for less, which generally results in a sub–optimal outcome.

This process is making life hell for agencies, which sadly are not responding well to the threat. As an industry we need to challenge this process and look for a better way forward.

How do you view the competitive landscape?
Agencies are no longer competing simply with each other for business. We are now going head–to–head with management consultancies too, many of which have now built their own in–house advertising, creative and digital teams.

In spite of this relatively new development, agencies must play to their strengths. We are naturally more adept at triggering emotions — a distinct advantage given that all human decisions are based on emotion not logic.

Why are you the one to watch in 2019?
With the large holding companies struggling to evolve to new market demands, we believe there has never been a better time to be an independent agency.

Speed to market is becoming a critical selling point — and smaller, faster, more adept firms have this ability in spades.

Our new global alliance with WPI means we can now confidently play against the multinational agencies as we have true representation on an international scale. 

How would you describe staff culture?
Our ethos is big on work/life balance, small on egos and internal politics with a commitment to meeting the expectations of clients in this ever- changing industry. We hire people who are passionate, proactive, self-motivated, bold and curious.

And as our mantra dictates, we always look for that elusive ‘spark’ in people because these are the ones who generate the wildfire ideas, fuel our business, ignite debate and trigger a different conversation. Our ‘spark’ is inherent in our culture.

Daylight dogsDaylight dogs

What makes for a good client and agency relationship?
Respect. This is a two-way street.

Clients need to be clear and forthright with the agency about their values and objectives (around their business), the challenges they face, their idea of success and budgets.

Agencies need to deliver work they are proud of, work that is obviously on strategy but not necessarily what the client thought they needed. Fresh. Impactful. Surprising. Respect leads to success. Then everyone can go to the pub for a well-earned beer.

How did your sister agency in Indonesia come about?
Under the guise of Chris’ former brand, Icon Communications, we’ve expanded into various markets over the years.

On all occasions we have opened new operations based on a new client need that became the anchor for that office. In the case of Indonesia our anchor client was Garuda, the national airline, for which we undertook a range of activities over several years to reposition the airline, enhance its brand reputation and help it become a major regional carrier of note.

Top three ads 
BDG/Almond Breeze: Breeze the Day
Since launch, Almond Breeze brand awareness is up 69% and growing. Brand trial is up 55%. Sales are up 211%. These numbers are outstanding when you consider both our major competitors had a TV presence on a scale that exceeded our expenditure by 300%.

Breeze the Day

Hello Sunday Morning: Don’t let the day get away
We created and produced the ‘Don’t let the day get away’ themed campaign for Hello Sunday Morning to encourage people to reassess their drinking habits and join the movement for a better drinking culture. This multi–faceted campaign featuring Kram from Spiderbait is running nationally and also in the UK, Ireland, the US, and Canada.

Baristas for Baristas
We created the world’s first barista–centric engagement platform with multiple touch points to create the best future for Australia’s thriving coffee scene. Baristas For Baristas is a one–stop–shop for jobs, support, music, business, products, rising stars and anybody who is passionate about coffee. Aren’t we all?

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