Marketing Featured ANZ

Initiative onboards Paige Wheaton as new head of investment and partnerships

Sydney, Australia – Media agency Initiative has announced the appointment of Paige Wheaton as its new chief investment & partnerships officer. Wheaton will also be joining Initiative’s national senior leadership team.

Based in Sydney, Wheaton will be responsible for further evolving Initiative’s Investment and Partnerships approach, working closely with clients nationally to aim to deliver and create market-leading value, innovation, and opportunity geared for sustainable growth.

Melissa Fein, CEO of Initiative Australia, said investment and partnerships underpin the overall success of the agency and it is essential that an exceptional talent leads this team – “someone with outstanding people and leadership skills and with a strong point of view on media responsibility and planning for a sustainable and inclusive future.” 

Fein said, “As Initiative looks to evolve its investment and partnerships offering, I believe we have found a phenomenal talent in Paige. Her experience across the full funnel, not just traditional, makes her a unicorn in this market. Compounding that is her knowledge in the purpose-driven area of investment which perfectly complements Initiative’s ethos in this space.” 

Currently National Head of Investment at Mindshare, Wheaton brings 15 years of media experience to Initiative, beginning her career at Mediacom and spending time at several Australian independent media agencies. At Mindshare, she has grown the investment community and been instrumental in the development of globally adopted tools around the responsible and sustainable investment of media dollars. 

Wheaton commented, “Initiative’s value proposition, culture and suite of investment products and services will allow me to develop meaningful relationships with our partners, delivering on-point creative investment strategies and campaigns that outpace the current market standard.”

“I’m passionate about making an impact. The most exciting thing is having a thriving community of investment individuals who I can help grow and develop in their careers. I’m a hugely people-centric leader and I’m so excited to partner with the investment leads in each of the markets to deliver on that promise. The other element that excites me is the culture at Initiative which they are so renowned for. It’s what initially attracted me to the role and having the opportunity to truly deliver market-leading work was the icing on the cake,” she added. 

Initiative’s National Managing Director, Sam Geer, meanwhile, said, “Put simply, Initiative wants the market’s best talent, and we have heard from media owners time and time again that Paige is exactly that. She joins us at a time when our product is evolving and the integration of Performance, Digital and Traditional has never been more critical. With Paige’s knowledge and experience in this area we have found the perfect match to drive our investment proposition into the future.” 

Wheaton’s appointment is effective mid-July. She replaces Simon Reid who left the agency earlier this year.

Also within this month, the agency named Danielle Galipienzo as its Head of Impact to lead its purpose-led consulting division. 

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SDAC Ford MY unveils music video that’s ‘more than you expect’ in new Raya campaign

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC), the sole distributor of Ford in Malaysia, has launched its latest campaign to commemorate the Raya celebrations. The campaign was done in collaboration with Initiative, the media agency within the IPG Mediabrands network.

With the theme ‘More than you expect’, SDAC and Initiative worked with key opinion leader (KOL) Chubb-E. The release intends to send Raya wishes to consumers as they make their way back to their hometowns (balik kampung) while sharing key safety and product features of the Next-Generation Ford Ranger.

The lyrics were written and composed by Chubb-E, who also performed and produced the video. The 23-year-old digital artist is well-known in the Malaysian media scene and as a digital influencer, singer, and composer.

“Amidst the Raya videos that fall on comedy, and the majority that pull on your heartstrings, we’re excited to be a part of something that cuts through the noise and is culturally current and relevant,” said Darren Yuen, chief executive officer of Initiative.

He added, “The team has pulled together a dual language music video that speaks to the younger generation with its street-cred lyrics – think fleek and lit – and leverages on the popularity of Chubb-E who has a strong following with Malay grassroots.” 

Meanwhile, Queenie Tham, head of marketing communications at Sime Darby Auto Connexion-Ford said that they wanted to show the Next-Generation Ranger in a new light this Raya, how it can play a part in many aspects of life, being truly ‘more than you expect’ in a pickup truck. 

“Next-Gen Ford Ranger and Raptor have many first-in-class and best-in-class technologies and features suited for the dynamic lifestyle of society today. The Initiative team and Chubb-E have really done a wonderful job to translate our key messages into a catchy, trendy song that is more than just a jingle,” Tham added.

Complementing the music video, a week-long radio campaign has launched on ERA FM and with Astro Lifebytes to promote Raya safety messages during the festive period and educate listeners on the Next-Generation Ranger features.

SDAC Ford’s new music video can be viewed via Ford Malaysia’s social media channels.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Initiative appoints Danielle Galipienzo as Head of Impact to lead purpose-led consulting division

Sydney, Australia – Media agency Initiative has announced the appointment of Danielle Galipienzo as head of Impact to lead its purpose-led consulting division. The appointment comes as the agency continuously develops the department, expanding from pro-bono partners to include paid services and impact consulting open to all clients.

She will be responsible for looking upon opportunities where Initiative can do its role of helping employees, clients, media partners, NFPs and other businesses to positively amplify the impactful work they’re doing. She will also create impact campaigns supported by a team across Initiative nationally. 

Galipienzo will retain her role as the agency’s client director. Working with Initiative, she has been a very intergral part in strategising the ad spaces and running campaigns of its clients.

Sam Geer, national managing director at Initiative, describes Galipienzo as a genuine market leader, and her experience and passion are evidences that she can lead Initiative’s impact division into its growth.

“We are in a unique position in our industry thanks to the resources, skills, and influence that we have. This new role will help me do my best work where I can effectively drive change in culture, for our clients and the industry,” Galipienzo expressed.

This year, Initiative has also appointed David Cook as its head of marketing and IQ. 

Marketing Featured ANZ

Australian food company Goodman Fielder expands Initiative’s remit across retail marketing business

Australia – Regional food company Goodman Fielder has expanded the remit of media agency Initiative to now include retail marketing business, traditionally the domain of the business’ sales division.

Previously, Initiative was the media agency of record for Goodman Fielder, where it focused on the company’s above the line (ATL) media, including strategy, planning, buying, implementing and reporting. 

Work on the retail marketing side of Goodman Fielder’s media account commences immediately with first campaigns expected in market by the middle of the second quarter.

Jo McAlister, managing director at Initiative Sydney said the fundamental shift in the way Goodman Fielder is approaching its brand and retail trade marketing is a gamechanger; and Initiative’s team is thrilled to have the ability to take a more universal approach to investment, allowing best practice of having ATL, at-shelf and at-home to seamlessly work together.

“Combining brand and retail has been proven to provide Goodman Fielder with the strongest integrated media product possible. The work we collectively delivered for the widely recognised ‘Wonder Recycling Rewards’ campaign shows the closer these two worlds are, the stronger the results,” he explained.

McAlister also commented that it has also astounded them that less than 5% of retail media investment is managed via media agencies, a statistic Australia is lagging behind mature markets, and they feel it’s an untapped opportunity for brands to create an unfair advantage.

“We will harness the full capabilities of Cartology, Coles 360 and others, while leveraging our ATL media partners, to create a true consumer-first end-to-end solutions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Christine Fung, chief marketing officer at Goodman Fielder, commented, “Taking a holistic approach to our media and retail investment strategy has proven to deliver results for us, and we are delighted Initiative is our partner on the next stage of our growth journey as we accelerate our approach. We can’t wait to see what amazing results we can achieve as a team.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Initiative retains media account of distillery company Pernod Ricard

Sydney, Australia After a competitive pitch, media agency Initiative has retained its media remit for distillery company Pernod Ricard to work across the entire brand portfolio including all Pernod’s wine, spirit, whiskey, champagne, RTD and ‘new to world’ brands, focusing on Australia and New Zealand market.

Since its sealed partnership in 2019, Initiative has helped the company to propel into culture, with notable highlights including challenging gender bias through The Glenlivet Break The Rules campaign, tackling regional inequality through Absolut Pride Relay, and launching major brands like Malfy Gin and Altos Tequila into market. 

Jo McAlister, managing director at Initiative, said that the agency is excited for another 3 years of partnership with the company to continue its journey in leading ANZ’s competitive alcohol beverage markets across all brand categories.

“This is phenomenal news and we are so proud to continue our partnership. For the past three years we have grown together as brands, collaborating via a truly open and transparent relationship and enjoying an agency/client bond that I’ve rarely seen in market,” McAlister added.

Eric Thomson, CMO at Pernod Ricard Winemakers, added, “The chemistry between Initiative’s team and ours was evident from the start of our relationship three years ago and it has not waned. We are delighted to continue our partnership as we both push forward to produce effective and creative work that connects and engages our customers in an increasingly complex market.”

In January, Initiative also retained its media business remit for energy networks owner Jemena Limited, extending its 10-year relationship with the brand. 

Platforms Featured ANZ

Initiative calls on industry ‘Nostra-AD-amuses’ to place their bets as it brings back Super Bowl ad betting competition

Sydney, Australia – As Super Bowl 2023 draws near, media agency Initiative is bringing back its popular Super Bowl ad betting competition via the Marketing-Multi platform. The competition is open to all ad industry experts who want to test their power of prediction.

Built by Initiative’s Cultural Analytics department, marketing-multi is crowdsourced by industry experts across Australia and internationally to provide the most eclectic multi-market with odds updating live every day.

Currently, ‘Chat GPT created spots’, ‘spot featuring the British royals’, and ‘appearance of Nepo babies’ are amongst the odds industry pundits are betting on through its website,

In the competition, punters can only bet if an outcome will occur (yes or no), and how many times they predict the outcome occurring. Scoring will be based on probability with the final odds from each day added to a punter’s daily score calculation.

Similar to last year, there will be no money involved but the participant with the highest cumulative score will earn an official ‘Marketing-Multi Super Bowl Ring’ and industry ‘bragging rights’.

“Arguably the world’s biggest advertising platform, Super Bowl sets the stage for the biggest benchmarks in creativity where brands open their wallets and take a punt showcasing their brand, in often outrageous ways, to win the one true ad-attentive environment,” said Chris Colter, chief strategy and product officer at Initiative.

Ryan Haeusler, head of communications design and architect of the platform also explained, “The aim of the game is to get as many legs right, with no penalties for a wrong punt, whoever strings together the most correct answers takes home the ultimate prize: water-cooling bragging rights and the lofty title of this year’s Super Bowl Nostr-AD-Amus.”

Launched on February 8 last year, Marketing-Multi is targeted at helping industry experts predict the best and most hilarious ads of The Super Bowl.

Marketing Featured ANZ

David Cook to head marketing of Initiative, agency’s consulting division IQ

Australia Media agency Initiative has announced the appointment of David Cook to the newly created national role of head of marketing and IQ. As the head of IQ, Initiative’s consulting division, Cook is tasked to deliver high-level strategic media recommendations to C-suite leaders. Within the role, he will also be leading the agency’s marketing program and supporting the agency’s focus on industry thought leadership and progression.

Prior to joining Initiative, Cook has previously held various strategic roles for different media outfits. In the past, he was a communication strategist for ZenithOptimedia and also assumed the strategy director position at Ikon Communications previously. In 2014, he became a strategy consultant for Match Media and was the strategy director of Bohemia Group for 2 years through 2016. 

It was in 2020 when Cook started handling marketing roles. Before officially joining Initiative, he was the head of trade marketing at broadcast media production Nine for 2 years. 

For the new role, Cook will be reporting directly to Initiative’s chief strategy & product officer Chris Colter and the agency’s national managing director, Sam Geer.

Commenting on Cook’s appointment, Colter said that Cook’s industry-wide reputation for sharp thinking and collaborative approach is essential for the growth agenda of the agency’s consulting division.

Colter added, “We are thrilled to have David join our team to expand Initiative’s IQ division which has experienced exponential growth since its launch in 2021.”

Meanwhile, Cook said that he is impressed with Initiative’s consulting proposition and its ambition to produce best-in-class client work. 

“I look forward to using my experience to date, and applying it through a slightly different lens. I can’t wait to get started,” he said.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Initiative retains media business remit of energy firm Jemena

Sydney, Australia After a hotly contested pitch, media agency Initiative has retained its media business remit for energy networks owner Jemena Limited, extending a 10-year relationship with the brand. The win also comes with Mediabrands Content Studio (MBCS), a media-fueled content practice of Mediabrands, expanding its creative remit for the same brand.

Initiative will be responsible for all national and local broadcast media buying, print, outdoor, radio, cinema, digital, search, social and addressable, and other media buying such as strategic and communication design responsibilities. Meanwhile, MBCS will handle all creative and production services and executions.

Melissa Fein, CEO of Initiative said that she is thrilled in re-signing a valued long-term partner. She also added that her team is energised in increasing Jemena’s customer base as it expands the network across regional and urban centres throughout New South Wales.

Fein added, “Jemena walks our talk; they are passionate about their customers, ambitious in their plans to decarbonise their networks and totally committed to a sustainable future, all traits Initiative values deeply. And our relationship has just got better with MBCS now on board, they’re an incredibly talented team and our cross-agency collaboration will help us continue to elevate the outstanding work we do on Jemena.”

Retaining its creative remit, Olivia Warren, managing director of MBCS expressed, “Jemena is a fascinating business with so much creative potential. Potential that is greater unlocked by having creative and media harmoniously working together under one roof. It makes collaboration easier, encourages new and gutsy perspectives and ultimately produces world class results for our clients. We can’t wait to get started.”

Meanwhile, Sandra Centofanti, head of strategy & marketing at Jemena Networks added, “Year-on-year Initiative brings fresh, exciting media thinking to the table; they understand our business intimately and deliver consistently strong results. We’re pleased to expand this relationship and onboard MBCS as our creative partners. Their connected approach to creativity and energy for our business was magnetic and we look forward to creating big things together.”

Marketing Featured ANZ

Mediabrands Australia names Geoff Clarke as COO

Sydney, Australia Global media and marketing solutions group IPG Mediabrands has appointed Geoff Clarke as its chief operating officer for Australia. Clarke will retain his chief operating officer role and business growth development responsibilities for Initiative, a global media agency that is also under Mediabrands.

In his expanded role, Clarke will be responsible for driving operational and organisational improvements across the entire group. He will also continue to lead IPG’s transformation agenda throughout APAC while leading the operational integration and working system of Australian businesses. Clarke will also collaborate across the company’s entire client portfolio.

Mark Coad, CEO of Mediabrands Australia said that the expanded leadership role is a timely and well-deserved recognition for Geoff who has successfully led the Group’s transformational agenda.

Coad added, “Geoff is an outstanding leader. While still keeping his fingers 100 percent on the pulse at Initiative, he successfully positioned Mediabrands as an industry leader in the use of automation and BOTs considerably reducing repetitive and menial work and significantly improving the way we work across the entire group.”

In his three-decade media industry career, Clarke has established a background in investment, planning, and media buying. He worked for various agencies in London and eventually obtained a managing director position in Australia in 2013.

In 2015, Clarke started his role in Initiative as a client partner and later on promoted to chief operating officer. He has been instrumental in the agency’s growth and development in Australia.

For his new responsibilities, Clarke commented, “I am going to be busy, but it is an exciting time to be in the industry. My goal is for our clients to engage Mediabrands’ agencies knowing the unique business solutions we offer are fully effective and designed for ambitious growth.  This can only happen when the best operational and procedural innovations are in place and the most talented teams are available to service clients.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Maya names Initiative PH as media agency of record

Manila, Philippines – Maya, the newly rebranded and one of the leading financial superapps in the Philippines, has named IPG Mediabrands’ media agency Initiative as its media agency of record. The win followed a multi-agency pitch in October 2022. 

Initiative Philippines will be heading Maya’s integrated media mandate. This includes business analytics, audience understanding, media strategy, planning, offline, and full-funnel digital performance activation for the consumer and business segments of the total Maya portfolio.

“2022 was a tremendous year of brand and business growth as we relaunched from PayMaya to Maya, but the work has only just begun. With even greater ambitions in 2023, we must ensure that all our capabilities across the board are on the cutting edge,” said Pepe Torres, chief marketing officer of Maya.

He also added that Initiative proved to be the right media partner for Maya for being just as invested in its success as they are and being philosophically aligned with their “cultural velocity proposition.”

Paul Atienza, managing partner at Initiative Philippines also said, “Maya is a bold tech maverick that continues to stretch the limits and defy conventions in helping Filipinos make bolder financial choices. We could not be more thrilled to partner with them, driving Cultural Velocity to further protract growth for the Maya brand in years to come.”

Melody Laogan, managing partner at Initiative Philippines added, “This win is a testament to Initiative’s culturally driven and outcome-focused approach to integrated strategic planning. We share the same values with Maya, of being fearless, bold, and progressive. We are excited to raise the bar together.”

Initiative Philippines’ appointment is effective January 2023.

Last May, Paymaya rebranded as Maya with the aim to be known as an all-in-one finance platform for individuals and enterprises. 

Maya Bank’s parent firm Voyager Innovations has also previously boosted its total valuation to unicorn plus status.