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This interview first appeared in The Stable

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Y&R Group ANZ chief creative officer, Ben Coulson, has 27 reasons to feel that this Cannes was particularly good. In fact, he has 28.

Those 27 Lions won by Y&R Group ANZ, including two Grands Prix and a Titanium lion from Y&R Auckland, made Y&R Cannes Lions most awarded network in ANZ.

But when I asked him what it felt like to be at Cannes, he said, “There was a really good vibe. Everyone was having a win. There were happy conversations all round.”

Australia did well, but it did so in the most understated way possible. Apart from Lions Health, where Grey Melbourne made sure everyone knew its name, it seemed as though every time Australia got a chance to stand on the stage at Cannes, New Zealand took the microphone.

“It might look like that because there were no Australian blockbusters this year. And New Zealand had a standout year, with Colenso and Y&R on fire. But more Australian agencies won Gold than ever before. Across all agencies we had a great year. There was even spread of solid wins.”

And Coulson was able to name – and applaud – all of them.

But I wanted to know what Y&R ANZ’s award success meant to its four agencies, and more importantly, how did Y&R do it? So I asked.

The Stable: What does it mean to Y&R to do so well at D&AD, NYF and now also Cannes this year?

Ben Coulson: Confidence. Confidence in ourselves. It’s reward for a four year commitment for me, since I became chief creative officer. But it also tells all our people in all of our offices we can get great work out there, that we’re all strong. There’s great momentum now in all our agencies.

TS: How did you do it?

BC: Quietly. With no fanfare, no flashy hires and no PR-grabbing shout-outs.

It was about our being willing to say we’re not yet doing our best work and reaching that little bit further – so, quietly and carefully…and perhaps most importantly, proactively. When I did a bit of an audit of all of our winning work this year, I

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Y&R Group most awarded network in ANZ at Cannes Lions; Y&R New Zealand most awarded agency + ‘McWhopper’ most awarded campaign

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Y&R Group was the most awarded network in Australia and New Zealand at Cannes this year, taking home a record breaking 27 lions. Second was BBDO with 25 lions and third was DDB with 22 lions.

Y&R Group offices from Auckland, Melbourne, Wellington and Brisbane all contributed to the haul, which included 2 Grand Prix awards, 1 Titanium, 8 Gold, 8 Sliver and 8 Bronze lions.

‘McWhopper’ for Burger King was the most awarded campaign in the region, with a total of 17 lions. Y&R Auckland also added gold lions for Jaguar ‘Actual Reality’ and GPY&R Brisbane won gold for Brisbane City Council’s ‘Life saving stickers’.

Y&R Group won for seven clients across nine juries, including integrated, titanium, direct, radio, cyber, promo, PR, health and entertainment.
Says Ben Coulson, Y&R regional CCO “Considering that a finalist at Cannes puts your work in the top 5% of work in the world. This week’s performance by our agencies is very special. I’m proud to be part of a group of people who love making top shelf work.”

In 2nd place BBDO scored one Grand Prix, one titanium and 9 gold lions, DB Export’s ‘Brewtroleum’ winning the major awards.

Helping LGBTI youth come out of the digital closet

This article first appeared in The Age

“How do I come out?”

This is the question most often put to Rory Blundell, 20, when he gives talks to high school students about gender, sexuality and his own experience of coming out as a trans man.

Many young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students find the concept terrifying, says Blundell, but their questions are difficult to answer because everyone’s personal situation is different.

Rory Blundell, 20,says coming out can be one of the most difficult things to do for young LGBTI people.Rory Blundell, 20,says coming out can be one of the most difficult things to do for young LGBTI people. Photo: Wayne Taylor

A new app and website lets young LGBTI people anonymously ask their friends through Facebook (or email or text) if they would support them coming out, offering a way to gauge how friends might react.

The “You’re accepted” website, which can be used on any device, allows users to send a personally-composed, anonymous message to friends and family on social media, and read the positive messages they send back, including names of those who have written them.

It is a collaboration between national LGBTI youth organisation Minus 18, and advertising agency GPY&R Melbourne, which came up with the concept and developed the website pro bono.

It gives LGBTI people confidence by removing some of the guesswork in the process of coming out, says Minus 18 chief executive officer Micah Scott.

“Having just one supportive friend through the process can make all the difference,” Scott says. “And coming out can be a bit of a snowball effect – the more people you know the easier it gets.”

When Blundell, now a Melbourne University arts student and volunteer with Minus 18, was at high school, the teen told a close friend about having a crush on a girl in their friendship group.

Just minutes later his entire friendship group had found out, and at least one of his friends told the rest not to speak to him.

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Minus 18 and GPY&R Melbourne support International Day Against Homophobia With ‘You’re Accepted’

This article first appears in B&T

Sadly, today’s LGBTI youth still face discrimination. Young gay people often fear coming out due to online homophobia. ‘You’re Accepted’ is the first Facebook message that gives LGBTI youth the chance to anonymously find out how many of their friends would support them coming out.

A person begins by anonymously asking their Facebook friends if they would support them coming out. Friends can reply directly back with positive messages of support. GPY&R Melbourne developed the ‘You’re Accepted’ concept and both built and designed the microsite on behalf of Minus18.

Micah Scott, CEO of Minus18 added, “You’re Accepted is here to tackle hateful online discrimination against LGBTI youth by showing people there’s a lot more support out there than they might think. Through positive social support, provided by friends and family, we can do this together. After all, no one should live in fear of simply being who they are – everyone should be accepted.”

Client: Minus 18
CEO: Micah Scott

Agency: GPY&R Melbourne
Executive Creative Director: Ben Coulson

Creative Director: Jake Barrow
Copywriter: Michael Barticel
Art Director: Joey Newton
Business Director: Jonny Clow

Account Manager: David Gallo
Executive Digital Producer: Ben Crowe

Digital Producer: Kyle Stein

Snr Front End Developer: Alex Case
Snr Back End Developer: Mark Natividad
Interactive Designer: Rosalie Iaria

Gold, Silver and Bronze Pencils for Y&R at One Show in New York


Y&R Australia & New Zealand have won 16 Pencils at D&AD, which puts the agency at the top of the list of Pencil winners for ANZ.

Y&R NZ is the most awarded agency in New Zealand with 10. It is also equal 6th in the world rankings by Pencils

GPY&R has the most pencils in Australia with 6. It is also the 10th in the world rankings by Pencils.

Y&R’s haul is the largest of any agency in the ANZ region, ever.

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It’s Easier To Treat ANZAC Day With Respect Without A Brand: GPY&R

This article first appeared in B&T


When there’s no commercial brand trying to hike onto a poignant moment such as ANZAC Day, it’s a chance for the creative to really shine through. At least, that’s what Jonny Clow has found.

The group account director at creative agency GPY&R was part of the team that launched an ANZAC Day campaign for charity group Legacy called Letters of Gallipoli.

Clow agreed brands dabbling in ANZAC Day campaigns were treading a fine line, “especially with the controversy that happened last year with Woolworths”.

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Aussie actors lend their voice to Legacy’s ‘Letters of Gallipoli’ web series

To commemorate ANZAC Day, Legacy and GPY&R Melbourne and Finch have created ‘Letters of Gallipoli’, a seven-part webisode series.

Working with the Australian War Memorial, GPY&R researched the letters and diary entries written by Australians while they were aboard ships, fighting in the trenches and wounded in hospital beds.

The project uniquely documents the events as they happened over a century ago, through the very personal accounts of soldiers and nurses writing to their loved ones.

The letters are read by prominent Australian actors and personalities, including Vince Colosimo, Damon Herriman, Diana Glenn, John Howard, Gyton Grantley, Ita Buttrose and Josh Lawson.

One hundred years after they were written, the films will be released each day at lettersofgallipoli.com, in the lead up to Anzac Day.

Says James Wills, copywriter at GPY&R: “What’s wonderful is that some of Australia’s best talent and production crew have donated their time to help create this unique series for a great cause. What you see on film are actors reading these amazing letters for the first time. Included in the series is a diary entry from my own great-grandfather, so it’s a project I’m proud to have been part of.”

Time donated by cast and crew.

How to make a McWhopper and put your competition on notice.

This article first appeared in Mumbrella

At the recent CommsCon conference Josh Moore and Jono Key from Y&R New Zealand presented on the acclaimed McWhopper campaign for Burger King. This week the unlikely recipe was hailed at The Andys in New York, named Best in Show – a first for New Zealand.

What is a McWhopper – half McDonald’s Big Mac and half Burger King’s Whopper – actually worth?

About $182m in earned media and 8.9 billion media impressions, apparently.

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