Telstra goes for a bespoke agency, +61

By AdNews | 17 October 2023
Credit: Moritz Mentge via Unsplash

Telstra has announced a shake up to its brand and marketing agency roster, with the creation of ‘+61,’ a partnership formed to lead its brand after completing a review.

+61 brings together independent creative studio Bear Meets Eagle On Fire, Omnicom's TBWA and Telstra’s existing media agency OMD. 

The Monkeys, CHEP and DDB are out.

Telstra is moving away from a traditional agency roster for specialist agencies that focus on brand, customer communications and retail scopes.

Telstra spent $248 million on advertising last year.

Brent Smart, who became Telstra chief marketing officer a year ago, thanked The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song, CHEP and DDB for many years of partnership and the contribution they have made to Telstra’s business.

“We are excited to build something new in the Australian market with +61," Smart said.

"This partnership will give us the best of both worlds – an independent creative agency powered by a network agency; the creative vision of the team at Bear Meets Eagle On Fire combined with the strategic and integrated capabilities of TBWA.

"It will allow us to achieve a new level of creative and media integration, with our exceptional media partner OMD the third and equal partner in the model.

“This is not just another standalone one-client agency built to deliver efficiencies. We have big creative ambitions and this is about the best talent and thinking from three agencies at the top of their game, collaborating on our business as one team with one commercial arrangement.

Micah Walker, founder Bear Meets Eagle On Fire, said it's a huge honour to be considered for such an ambitious assignment. 

"Partnering with Brent, TBWA and OMD on such an iconic brand - and putting creativity and thinking at the very heart of something custom-designed, was an opportunity we couldn't say no to. We can't wait to get into it," Walker said.

Paul Bradbury, CEO TBWA Australia and New Zealand, said Brent and the Telstra team’s creative ambition and genuine desire to do things differently make this a very special opportunity for all.

"Our partnership with one of the world’s most exciting creative independents, Bear Meets Eagle on Fire, and Australia’s best media agency and Omnicom family member, OMD, we believe is a force multiplier. And like Micah, we can’t wait to get started," Bradbury said.

Peter Horgan, CEO Australia and New Zealand, Omnicom Media Group, said OMD has been a long-term partner to Telstra.

"We feel privileged to be part of a future facing alliance to support through the exciting challenges ahead," Horgan said.

Telstra and +61 will start work from December.

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