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TBWA ad man Toby Talbot on leaving New Zealand (again)

There is no ad man quite as charismatic as Toby Talbot.

Not long ago the award-winning creative had Adland in a frenzy over his return from overseas – before he had even set foot in the country.

The industry was rife with rumours over which agency picked him up.

Mr Talbot was known for his turnaround of DDB Auckland back in 2011 but was seconded to DDB London to work on global campaigns for the network. 

The work he oversaw for DDB’s Auckland outpost included the Wilson dog ad for Lotto and the Steinlager ad run before the Rugby World Cup, which featured a man who was saving a white can of beer to celebrate the All Blacks' success.

After months of speculation over whether he would return, he took the helm of TBWA\Whybin replacing highly regarded creatives David Walden and Andy Blood.

And when he got here, several DDB Auckland creatives jumped ship to TBWA\Whybin, as the agency rebuilt.

Now, it appears, all that has gone to waste; Mr Talbot – tapped by long-time colleague, DDB Australia and NZ chair Marty O’Halloran – has gone back to DDB, this time the Sydney office.

He was only with TBWA\Whybin for 14 months and departs after creative director Steve Kane split for a managing director opportunity at Y&R. 

Mr Talbot tells NBR ONLINE the decision to leave was very hard.

“I feel like it's come at the halfway mark at Whybin and last year for me and [chief executive] Todd McLeay has been about rebuilding.

“Naturally, one always thinks one could have done more and the agency needed a real boost.”

Despite describing the timing of his and Mr Kane's departures  as “not ideal” – he says he thinks the creative department is in good shape.

Upon Messrs Blood and Walden’s departure, the agency quickly lost the 2degrees account but picked up projects for TradeMe as well as APN and Bell Tea.

The backbone of its client roster is ANZ and Tourism NZ. Nissan is also a regionally aligned client.

The work, Mr Talbot says, iswas what will move him overseas; DDB Sydney’s client list includes Telstra, Volkswagen, McDonalds and Unilever. 

“I’m used to working with a bigger train set and for me the work is everything. My core strengths lie in making a big agency, bigger.”

And if it is all about the work, perhaps Mr Talbot didn’t see enough, when asked about his favourite campaign during this latest stint at TBWA he sighs; “quite a few never got to see the light of day.

“But in terms of pure fun the Effies campaign (Results Don’t Lie) was fun and got up at the webbys and at the moment ANZ is starting to get quite exciting.”

Mr Talbot also says his work for the APN brand NZ Herald's rugby section is something he is also proud of. 

What Toby did: A selection of works overseen by Mr Talbot at TBWA:

Bell Tea: 

Trade Me: 

Effies: Results don't lie


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