by Herman Manson (@marklives) One year ago Y&R looked like a mess, at least from the outside. No they won’t say it, but after the exit of Frasier Lamb, and the disastrous non-communication strategy it employed, coupled with a mini-guerrilla war inside the agency that was playing out quite publicly, the broader perception on the state of the agency wasn’t good. And in this industry perception counts for quite a bit.
The agency brought in as CEO Andrew Welch, a brand expert from Landor Associates in London, to set things back on track, and working closely with ECD Graham Lang, the agency has been reorganising its business to the extent that it recently landed the Telkom account, meaning it now handles two of the big 5 advertising accounts in the country (the other being Pick n Pay).
Welch, who joined in May a year ago, quite likes the new normal at Y&R, having helped the agency transition to what he calls Y&R 2.0.
Considering the internal goings on at Y&R at the time, bringing in somebody with an outside view was probably the best thing the agency could hope to do. Welch realised the need for change, while also acknowledging the positives built up over the past 35 years by the company, if the business was going to go to the next level. It needed to expand its strategic thinking, create more compelling creative and transition from ATL to through the line, says Welch.