DDB NZ’s Damon Stapleton and Shane Bradnick prove that a nimble agency in a small market has the freedom to be more creative and push the industry forward.


Issue 60: DDB New Zealand

Punch Above Your Weight

It may be small, but the New Zealand market certainly packs a creative punch.  The country ranked sixth at Cannes this year and DDB New Zealand continues to be among the best, ranking #1 on Campaign Brief and named Campaign Magazine’s Best Digital Agency in Australia and New Zealand.  Having ideas is not the hard part, according to CCO Damon Stapleton, caring about them is. The belief in the power of ideas and persistence to craft the impossible is evident in their work. Damon Stapleton and ECD Shane Bradnick reunited at DDB New Zealand in early 2014. Here they provide a glimpse into how a small market agency consistently competes on the world-class stage.

You guys had worked together before joining forces again at DDB New Zealand. Is it sweeter the second time around?

Damon Stapleton: Not only is it sweeter, our salaries are far higher. When we started I carried a bag of spark plugs with me at all times because my car was stuffed and Shane used to wear Scrubs from a hospital because they were the cheapest clothes he could buy.

Has your past experience had an impact on your approach to the work today and the way you lead your creatives?

Shane Bradnick: Both our careers have often been about doing a lot with very little. So we always look for the best idea because that cuts through than just money.  And this is also what we try to inspire our creatives to do.

Damon, you were born in Australia and Shane, you’re South African, and you’ve both worked in both of those countries prior to coming to New Zealand.  What makes these markets stand out?

DS: I think what is unique about New Zealand and South Africa is the audience demands more from their advertising. They want to be entertained not just informed. From a New Zealand perspective, the simple answer is speed. There is less red tape, more bravery and a strong desire from a country of only 4.5 million people to make world-class work. These ingredients make a very special creative place.

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