Friday, April 27, 2007


In a move that is bound to cause controversy, the Commonwealth Bank has appointed hot US shop Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco to the Brand part of its account. (The agency's creative guru Jeff Goodby is pictured).
Why the bank did not consider any of the top Australian creative agencies good enough is probably where the controversy will start when this sinks in...

Commonwealth Bank Statement
The Commonwealth Bank has appointed San Francisco based advertising agency Goodby Silverstein and Partners to work with the Bank on its brand strategy.
Goodby Silverstein and Partners are widely recognised as one of the most effective and leading advertising agencies in the world. Last year they were awarded Adweek’s Agency of the Year; Ad Age’s Digital Agency of the Year; Creativity’s Agency of the Year; and Ad Age’s Campaign of the Year. They will join the Commonwealth Bank roster of agencies from May, and will work with the STW group of companies retained by the Bank to underpin and support the Bank’s vision of being Australia’s finest financial services organisation.
Mark Buckman, Executive General Manager, Branding Marketing and Advertising said “The decision to appoint Goodby Silverstein and Partners follows a global search to find a partner who shares our vision of developing world-standard advertising and communication which reflects the transformation occurring inside the Bank. Over the past 18 months, the Commonwealth Bank has made strong and positive change, evidenced by increases in staff engagement and customer satisfaction. The “Every day’s a new day” campaign was developed during this time to show those changes occurring within the Bank, and we are now at a point where we can consider a brand position which will more clearly differentiate the Commonwealth Bank in the financial services sector.”
In making the announcement, Mr Buckman said, “the Commonwealth Bank brand is strong in the Australian market, and the responsibility now rests with us to develop a world-class campaign which re-energises and repositions the brand in the minds of all Australians. Our decision to add Goodby Silverstein and Partners to our roster means that we are now working with absolute best there is locally and globally to redefine the Bank’s brand and position us strongly for the future,” Mr Buckman added.
Goodby Silverstein and Partners Vice –Chairman Harold Sogard said “We are absolutely thrilled and enormously energised to be working with The Commonwealth Bank. It is clear to us that the Bank is committed to world class service and performance and will do nothing less than change the face of banking in Australia. As an agency we are confident we are in a position to communicate the Commonwealth Bank’s vision in a way which will positively transform the way Australians feel about this proudly Australian company”.

(Obviously this "proudly Australian company" is not proud enough of Australia's best advertising agencies - CB Blog).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simple: Why don't the Bank bring back the world-class "Which Bank?" campaign (properly) they foolishly threw away in the 90s when they parted ways with Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney. This brilliantly witty and charming (and hugely effective) campaign - everyone remembers it even now - was created in 1982 by Gough Waterhouse, which later merged with Saatchi & Saatchi Compton.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is 26 days too late. It was April Fool's Day on the 1st.

I'd love to understand the thinking of the bank.

Rather than hold an agency solely accountable, why don't they consider that they are the ones signing off on the work and buying/rejecting ideas.

I imagine that all this experience will teach them is that if you kill good ideas that have been presented by one agency, they're just as dead as when you kill them when they're presented by another.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's so much sh*t aussie advertising it's not even funny. have you turned on your tv's lately? they went with gooby because frankly, the u.s in general does much better "real" work on BIG clients with real budgets. sorry, it had to be said.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm personally looking forward to Goodby's 'World Class' ideas being mercilessly shot down by the kind of pond life marketing scum that most of us have to deal with on a day to day fucking basis.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe it should be"Which Wank"

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem a little slow on the uptake, so I'll spell it out for you:


3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Golden rule: You are never going to lose your job if a "world class" agency fucks up - because you can always say that everyone else told you they were the best.

This generally means that management who have their cushy lives will always go with the no risk option.

And it being Commonwealth Bank adopting such a defensive strategy is hardly suprising.

Sad but true.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like those other aussie clients Australia Post and Tooheys using US Directors - now creatives and agencies can see how it feels. Agencies are willing to screw the local production industry, now clients will screw them too

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the matter??? Afraid of a little competition?

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the talent in Australia Buckman - too clever for you?

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what happens to clients after a dose of the Singo experience!

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I'm lost for words....but not this time. The local industry will be lucky to survive as the world becomes the mythical village. Why exactly should any company use an Australian agency? There are some seriously disturbing stories going around the production industry about an award obsessed CD demanding scams be produced or else. With the focus on awards who can blame the Comm Bank? Advertising is a serious and expensive business decision for any company, and adwanker creatives (and publishers) who think that advertising budgets are for their pleasure and career advancement are an endangered species.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


thanks for making it very clear for me. i noticed that you did not refute the fact that your television screens are inundated with the worst stuff ever produced because it's true? even the tampon ads in the u.s. beat 95% of what's going on down there. again, sorry.

also, maybe you should step off your aussie high horse for just a minute to look the goodby situation objectively.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor bastards were actually doing good work for a difficult client.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes, I'm not refuting that there's a lot of shit on Aussie TV, but to once again reiterate:


I'm sure that Goodby will realise just how conservative Aussie clients can be.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmm... looking through the 2006 Gunn Report of the world's hottest agencies, can't see Goodby anywhere.

But we can see George Patterson Y&R Melbourne at #14 in the world, Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney at #35 and Publicis Mojo Australia at #45.

Not to mention the likes of The Glue Society Sydney who created world class work for Virgin Mobile and Axe 'Gamekillers' - and, ironically, the Comm Bank's agency in the 90s, Lowe Hunt Sydney, which created the internationally acclaimed LynxJet campaign that was the world's most awarded integrated campaign in 2006.

Goodby had their glory days in the 80s and 90s (they won the Grand Prix at Cannes way back in 1998 but not much since). Most Golds at Cannes were won in the early 90s, around 15 years ago.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of whingers.....if you can't sell good work, it is simply because you are incapable of developing a productive relationship with a client.
If the standards of work in Australia are low, then that is a direct reflection of the talent in the marketplace.
I am delighted to see that Singo's have been shown up yet again....taking the money and producing rubbish should be punished.
Why don't we all focus on exporting work? it is a global marketplace and who better to take advantage.....probably the Koreans

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you all kidding? It's Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, San Francisco!! They kick ass. And if you think they're going to do bad work on Commonwealth, think again.
You don't know how these guys work.
Great Creative gets killed in Australia because there's not enough hand holding.
That's it.
The client wants to see finished scripts, animatics, narratives, visualisations, all but finished TV ads before they sign off and this is what Goodby does.
You think a mood board says anything to a client.
Are you nucking futs!!
You've met these people. They think it's creative to wear thick band watches and wear a different suit to work on friday.
Clients are morons. All of them. That's why you need to hold thier idiot hands step by brain damaged step.
Ideas. Script. Visualisation. References. Photographic boards. Style. TV references. Editing style. Comedy style. Voice coahes.
This is how you get work past a thick client like Commonwealth.
With brute creative force.
Only then do you get good ideas past.
It's not the creatives, or the lack of great ideas. It's the systems that fail to support them.
And I understand it. A client spends a million dollars, he's entitled to a little reassurance.
You mark my anonymous words, Goodyby's will do great things for this bank. Great ideas will get through. Agencies will say, "I presented that ad back when I still had use of my bowels in 1942" and Goodby's will come out smelling like a rose.
What a strange time to be a creative in Australia.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geez, Goodby's are soooooo 90s. If you want a hot overseas agency of today, Comm Bank should have gone through this list, four of whom have an Aussie connection:

Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami
Anomoly, New York
Droga 5, New York/LA (Aussie run)
Saatchi, New York (Aussie ECD)
BBH New York
DDB London
Fallon, London (Aussie CD)
Mother, London (or NYC)
AMV/BBDO, London
Wieden + Kennedy, London
TBWA\Chiat\Day, LA
180 Amsterdam (Aussie ECD)

7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Cannes last June, Goodby won one gold Lion for its 'Comcastic' Web site for Comcast, two gold Lions for it’s 'Got Milk?' 'Brittleactica' Web site and interactive campaign, a Silver Lion for a Discover Card banner ad and a bronze lion for a Specialized Web site. All awards in new media. That on top of amazing work for HP. And is AdWeek's and Creativity magazine U.S. Agency of the Year. Award watch, you're a wanker, get your facts right. An aussie in london, thank you for reminding us who the better shops around the world are, you are very well informed.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say hello - and I say Goodby

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you spell Graham, as in Ford?

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6.10 you're a fucking knob.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3 gold lions, 3 silvers and 2 bronze in 2006 - they're doing something right.

Given the quality of the advertsing in this country, I personally don't blame commbank. With any luck Goodby's will kick some arse and the effect may be the raising of expectations and thus standards locally.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:01... The quality of advertising in this country (at the top end, not the Singo end) is right up there with the best in the world, when given the chance by great marketers.

Australia ranked number 4 last year at Cannes behind the US, UK and Germany - and number one on a per capita basis.

If Comm Bank was based in Italy or Zimbabwe, I could understand their decision to go elsewhere, but this smacks of the Comm Bank marketing department heavies wanting lots of free shopping trips to San Fran every year. (Or is there another reason to go there?)

Wonder what their bosses will say once they realise the bad PR this will create from the Aussie ad industy (c'mon AFA, say something!) over the coming weeks.

This is the last in a long line of unbelievable decisions by the Comm Bank since they flicked Saatchis (and with it, Phil Gough's and Vic Waterhouse's hugely successful 'Which Bank?' campaign) in the early 90s. First, going to Lintas, then the disaster of 360, then going into bed with the STW Village People.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was working in Australia in the late 80s thru to 92 and I was really impressed with the 'Which Bank' campaign. The thing is, I can still remember all the commercials vividly - and, more importantly, associate the line with the Commonwealth Bank - something I can't say about almost any other Aussie ad campaign I saw during that time. (Oh, except 'I feel like a Tooheys, or two' - another crazy marketing decision to drop that one).

The power of the 'Which Bank?' line is so strong, I bet if you ask anyone in Australia today - 15 years later - to identify which bank it is, 99 percent of punters would say Comm Bank.

That's the test of a truly great campaign. Now, I wish there was a pub round here that served Tooheys rather than Fosters!

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goody's won't get out of bed for a client that doesn't generate them at least a 5 mil US annual fee.

Then there'll be at least 2 spots shot for in excess of 1 mil a piece.

There's around 7 mil before they even get on air.

Hey Buckman, it better be worth it dude.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In no particular order:

• Goodby is the current Agency of the Year in the USA

• I know that many on 7:54’s list highly respect and still look up to them even if he/she doesn’t

• Are we in or out of the world’s economy? We are happy and proud of our people who go OS to work, direct or start companies but some go all protectionist when it works the other way.

• Goodby does big, smart, insightful work and they seem like a great fit for a bank targeting business and consumers. I have seen a pitch they did for an insurance company and it was quite moving and provocative.

• They don’t care that much about awards and certainly don’t play the numbers game to move up the rankings like some agencies and networks do – what’s the point? It’s not like Jeff and Rich will be looking to Wieden, Crispin or BBH for their next job. They do work they are proud of that think is right and if it wins an award that’s a bonus.

• An interesting aside, in the last 3 weeks they have won over $1.5 billion, BILLION, dollars in new business. And that’s US dollars.

• I can’t wait to see the work on air. Maybe it can inspire our clients to lift their bar a bit.


Cheers, andy mckeon.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with Goodby's coming to town. Never head anyone complain when M&C, BWM and other Oz agencies win o/s business. Of more interest is that STW have managed to rack up yet another first in Oz advertising, they're the first agency to win and lose 2 of the big 4 banks [Westpac and the Comm Bank] in less than 3 years. Do you have any idea how hard it is to lose a bank in less than 12 months? The amount of upheavel an agency change causes inside a bank is huge. STW Village clients are starting to realise they've been treated like village idiots. It's only a matter of time before Vodaphone wakes up too. As for Goodby's. Good luck to them. We'll all have to work just that little bit harder.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear writers and art directors. I've got an idea! Get a job in Commbank's marketing department. It's the only way most of you will ever get the chance to work with an ad agency as great as Goodby's.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sick of this 'if my aunty had balls he'd be my uncle' attitude in australian advertising.

if only we got the right brief like they do overseas.

if only our suits were as good as the ones overseas.

if only we had the infrastructure overseas agencies have...

Where's my next move?

Overseas. Fuck whinging, i'd rather put up with shitty weather.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you bank at Comm bank ? Then change accounts and let them know why.

Intense marketing could possibly be in response to crap service at the bank.

Switch Bank ?

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We live in a global, connected world where communities of like minded people are unencumbered by geography. This is a reality the marketing and advertising industry in the US and elsewhere has embraced and Australia tends to ignore.

Maybe this is not just about the quality of creative but also about finding a partner that has a shared philosophy?

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I assume that all the people complaining about an American agency being appointed are all wearing Australian made clothes, driving Australian made cars and listening to Australian made music while dating their Australian made boyfriends/girlfriends!

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling that the Commbank Marketing people are going to be like the ugly girl who accidentally got invited to a good party? "Wow, you guys are so much better than the australan guys...can we just go over the strategy again, I'm worried people might not get it"

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodby have made the transition from a high profile 90's TV shop to a fully fledged and impressive digital and interactive shop. Check out it's sure to clean up at Cannes this year. So good luck to them and Comm Bank.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Name-dropping wanker.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous (the one immediately below). When in the hands of Gough Waterhouse, it was the reverse situation - local work winning lots of US and International awards. Isn't this the bank that started their own agency and then went to the evil Empire?Now they're looking for miracles.

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on guys. We all know the deal. What do you think our Ceo's, MD's and CD's be saying if we pitched on the business? What work would we be doing to 'win' the pitch. Let's face it, as an industry here, we bullshit. The agencies here would rather do what it takes to win the business rather than do what it takes to solve the business problem, creative or not. Goodby would have done some outstanding work to win the account (not a tap dancing show). I also agree with what someone earlier had said. We don't have the talent to sell the stuff. Actually we do but our agencies here wouldn't put talented people on the Comm bank account would they... I can't believe I'm actually going to say this but for the first time I can honestly say I have some respect for the bank. They're actually taking a risk and they will get better work for it too. Thoughts?

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Australia is becoming exponentially more patriotic (Ironically i think that's because of America through film and tv), but this campaign has unearthed a lot more than anyone would expect. The major newspapers couldn't care less about Goodby Silverstein- It's COmmbank they are slamming. I read one journalist on a newspapers website say 'their are a lot of bad agencies here in Australia- why go overseas to get one?', but it's the fact they spent money overseas that has caused anger amongst critics. Also, let's not forget, the critics for the most part are not young people. Tomorrow i start a Commbank campaign for O week at my university and already all my mates have told me they want to see me with flame throwers and koalas in go karts. I think it's a matter of perspective. Young Australia aren't affected by interest rate rises or that distorted sense of patriotism. So i say get over red neck Australia, it's a funny campaign, and it works!

2:11 PM  

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