Publicis and ZO launch startup consultancy

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 16 June 2015

Innovation is fast becoming the name of the game, not only for clients, but for agencies. The latest agency offering in the innovation space is Drugstore, an “innovation and startup consultancy” launched by Publicis Worldwide Australia and ZenithOptimedia.

ZenithOptimedia's chief innovation officer Aaron Michie said: “There’s barely an industry in the country that isn’t undergoing some sort of technologically-led disruption and many businesses are struggling to keep pace with the change that’s happening around them.

“Drugstore and our collaborations with tech incubators will allow us to help our clients and ourselves not only navigate the changing landscapes ahead, but be innovative enough to succeed.”

The aim of Drugstore is to bring clients of both Zenith and Publicis closer to the entrepreneurial thinking of the startup world, to help them manage the disruption moving through industries. The business will expand in Australia, in part through collaboration with startup incubator businesses.

Publicis Worldwide Australia's chief strategy officer Iona Macgregor said Drugstore is a unique resource for clients.

“It's a new type of creative forum and an opportunity to bridge business cultures,” Macgregor said. “We all have a lot to gain from diverse stories and approaches. Drugstore's offer is designed to accurate that learning.”

The Drugstore concept first launched in London in October last year with the official launch date in Sydney yet to be set. It's thought to be early in the next half of the year.

The aim is to have the London and Sydney Drugstore collaborating closely to share knowledge and initiatives.

The startup phase of the business will be managed jointly by Publicis Worldwide and ZenithOptimedia and will be housed in the Sydney offices.

It's not the first agency innovation lab to be unveiled in the Australian landscape. M&C Saatchi announced it was building its internal innovation division – Tricky Jigsaw - in July last year, headed up by group innovation director Ben Cooper.

Y&R Group also created a Sydney-based innovation division last year, with Y&R Group Sydney MD Andrew Dowling noting that investing in innovation was important in taking Y&R to its next level.

"What is really core and important is that this year we've moved from innovation as a shiny new object into innovation as a way of working and a way of thinking. It's starting to permeate it's way into everything we do," Dowling said.

PwC also pegged digital innovation as key to the future of the marketing department, noting that a digital transformation office, or officer, is a trend it is seeing on the horizon.

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