Sunday, July 09, 2006

THE DROGA 5 JUGGERNAUT: WHY IT'S SET TO TAKE ON THE WORLD


This year's Cannes Jury President, Australian expat David Droga, who's won more Lions than he can count with TV and print ads for agencies such as Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi, is becoming increasingly known for his nontraditional endeavors. His 3-month-old Publicis-backed venture, Droga5 in New York, is currently working on a project for General Electric — and it will be anything but traditional. Droga and his team are collaborating with architects Philippe Starck and William McDonough, who specialize in sustainable design, to create what one GE executive describes as "a showcase for GE at the Olympic Games in Beijing," he says. "We're trying to build a legacy for GE in China."
The details of the project are still very much under wraps, but the concept is unusual enough to warrant the attention of Murderball co-director Henry Alex Rubin, who is filming the process for a future documentary.
As much as Droga talks about expanding beyond advertising, he stresses that his ad skills are still at the core of his business. "It's one avenue," he says. "Our industry from a strategic and creative side can impact business far greater than just the marketing side. We're ideas people."
Droga named his shop after the tags his mother used to sew inside his clothes when he went to boarding school, marking his order in a family of five brothers and two sisters.
Droga5, he says, is a "work in progress." He admits he doesn't have the business model entirely figured out yet, but so far, a handful of clients have signed up for "the experiment" with him. In addition to GE, which had worked with Droga in his global Publicis role, the shop's briskly growing client roster includes Marc Ecko Enterprises, Magnum Photos and PBS Kids.
The company, say both Droga and partner Duncan Marshall, is also close to finalizing relationships with a youth beverage brand and an automotive company. Plus, several new hires are in the works, including a publishing world celeb who will join the company as a partner, and creative additions such as Aussie expat Ben Nott, from TBWA\Chiat\Day, LA who starts next month as a creative director, and an undisclosed creative director from Wieden + Kennedy.
"Almost everything we're involved in right now is different and a challenge," says Marshall, a former executive creative director of Publicis in New York. "It is about any aspect of brand communications that involves original creativity."
The Droga5 team, whose workforce is quickly inching up past a handful to what Marshall expects will be 40-plus by the end of the year, is applying its creative resources to everything from viral branding for Ecko to scriptwriting for PBS. Natasha Lance Rogoff, a former Sesame Street executive producer who is developing a children's show for PBS in South Carolina, met Droga earlier this year at the World Economic Summit at Davos, Switzerland, where he took part in a panel discussion titled "Beyond the 30-Second Brand."
Droga5 is working with Lance Rogoff on all aspects of Finky's Kitchen, which is an animated cooking show that teaches children about healthful nutrition. The finished pilot is expected by fall. "Their involvement is what I would call creative intelligence, just bringing good ideas to the table," says Lance Rogoff. "They're really good storytellers."
Each segment will be available on TV, the Internet and mobile devices, taking into account the way kids use digital media, she adds. The show will first launch in the U.S., with success possibly leading to global syndication. It is here where the relationship may turn from its current pro bono status to a money-making proposition.
"Droga5 has allowed me to dip into these relationships and experiment on how I want to work," Droga says, describing his client relationships. "With some clients, it's fee-based; some clients, it's a stake in the business; some clients, I'm doing it at no cost. I'm playing with different templates."
Droga emphasizes that he is not "walking away from advertising." At Cannes, Droga5 entered an Internet-based campaign for clothing designer and graffiti-rights advocate Marc Ecko — its first creative to reach the public — which took out the Cyber Grand Prix and one of only three Titanium finalists. The shop created what appeared to be clandestine footage of a graffiti artist tagging Air Force One. The clip was seeded on the Internet, and word spread quickly. The Pentagon publicly declared the defacement never happened.
"It's been amazing," says Droga of his first few months in business. Until now, he's been limited by industry restraints. He's building his company the way he wants to, striking partnerships with various companies for different ventures. For example, he's partnered with production company Smuggler, which produced the Air Force One film, on a branded entertainment and distribution firm. "It sounds messy, and maybe it is," he says. "But it is allowing us to play, which is all we really want."

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got to give it to Droga. He is quite brilliant.

PS. Has anyone noticed that Canon ads are now really, really shit. Guess you should have kept on the Digic boys eh Collis?

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He can do no wrong. The man is a genius.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And he's having a laugh.

Jammy bastard.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes lynchy, we already know Droga is a fucking legend. More importantly, didn't we win the World Cup by default because Italy cheated to beat us?

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's his email. I want to flick him this anti smoking brief.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. You lost to Italy because an over-zealous defender made a foolish sliding tackle in the penalty area seconds before the final whistle. A tackle a more experienced defender would never have made.

Jesus, you guys can't handle losing can you? First reaction? They cheated. Nice sports guys.

(Barcodes has been done before. CHEATS!)

1:45 PM  
Blogger lynchy said...

Yes, we could have won every game Italy played since that dreadful moment of infamy. I really think Australia can win anything it sets its mind to, given a fair go.

I felt we were robbed at Cannes too this year with the Titanium fiasco and not winning the Film Grand Prix. (At least the Cannes crowd agreed The Big Ad was the best this year). But even so, we still came 4th in the world - a truly brilliant achievement that I really think is worthy of a segment on 60 Minutes.

Being at Cannes this year - watching Australia play soccer and partying with a great bunch of talented Aussies in between counting Australia's Lions' haul - was one of the best weeks in my professional life.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1.45pm, the whole world knows it wasn't a penalty. Just like the whole world knows Italian soccer players are negative, conning, melodramatic, diving pansies. Some countries win the WC by playing better football. Some win it by cheating better than anyone else. And by making racist comments to players like Zidane.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Droga5 won the cyber Grand Prix, not the media one. The latter was won by LynxJet.

2:53 PM  
Blogger lynchy said...

Ooops, article has been corrected.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:18.

A sliding tackle that makes no contact with the ball but impedes a player in the penalty area is a penalty.

Deal with it.

The Italian hit the sliding player and fell. Dive or not, the foul was commited before he fell, the point is that he had a relatively good chance of a scoring opportunity that was impeded.

Yes it's a terrible way to go. Horrible. But that's the game mate. Defenders are endlessly trained to avoid tackles of that nature in penalty boxes because 50% of the time it'll end up as a penalty.

It was just inexperience and desperation that made him go for it.

And as far as racist comments go, the Aussies have sledged every major batsman in cricket for the last fifty years.

Admittedly, they wouldn't have stooped to racist comments but what Zidane did in response was arguably the most disgraceful foul in World Cup history.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear he wants to open a Droga5 in Australia. Or is that just wishful thinking?

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think worst foul in World Cup history is a serious stretch.
Personally, I think it was brilliant.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1.45 Must be awful to live in a country where you refer to the general population as "you guys." Go home to sunny England. I think I can hear your mother calling...

That goes for you too 2.18.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reckon it'll be at least another 5 years before Australia is ready for something like droga5 but don't hold your breath because by then it'll probably be too late

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

droga's a guru, no doubt.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Droga5 years after Glue Soc?

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zidane's a guru, in a goaty sort of a way. And Rooney's challenge was much worse MR Sunny Inyogland.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4.13.

?????

What an empty and meaningless comment.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Zinadine said...

At least the team that beat us went on to become the World Champions.

Bad ref decisions are inevitable and go both ways.

Enjoy the wins. And don't whinge when you lose.

Just like award shows really.

And try not to headbut.



Allez Allez

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"some clients i'm doing at no cost"


dave, they're called scam ads - but you know that don't you...

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he is referring to the kids healthy eating show but nice cheap shot 6.23.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry 8:03, 6:23 is right and we all know it. A long track record doesn't lie. Ask anyone who has worked for DD. Great, smart guy but who cuts plenty of corners.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:23PM, I think you'll find the correct term is "pro-bono". "Scam" is reserved for ads that weren't paid for and also never ran.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Droga is the man and more power to him. For all his incredible success, he is still a good Aussie through and through.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:16 actually it is 'pro-active'. ads created to win awards in search of a client...

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 6:03am

You're obviously a socially inadequate xenophobe. Your racist snipe at the Poms is truly sad, especially, as their gene pool contributed, and indeed continues to contribute to the success of our great country.

Take your bitter and twisted inconsequential self for a long walk of a short pier, either that or grow up.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Droga's Ecko thingy looked fake as fuck and was a total piece of shit. As something purporting to be guerilla I found it's charlatism highly offensive - sorry not to tow the grovelling line of the rest of you saps.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lynchy, you need to do a story on what bullshyte that ecko thing was. You gotta call a spade a spade mate... don't you?

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave here's a tip. The world of Content creation needs special skills.

If you hire all ad guys, you are making a mistake.

Find some people who are experts in mobile, broadband, digital possibilities, social networking and tv programming.

If you dont your in for a surprise.

2:48 PM  

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