The World: Insider's view - Australia

An adventurous outlook makes sense Down Under, Brendan Tansey writes, which allows Australian agencies to push the envelope that bit more than their European counterparts.

An old friend who recently held a pitch told me: "Damn lucky I wasn't looking for a traditional agency. I just met 14 agencies, and they all assured me they aren't one."

It's possible that the prevalence of 360-degree marketing in Australia is a result of the adventurous Australian spirit, but there are some practicalities driving the phenomena.

In markets such as London, agencies can achieve good scale working in one specialty. But in a country of 20 million people, it's harder to do. The growing share of wallet in trusted client relationships has always been easier (a higher probability of success and a lower cost of sale).

So, diversifying has always made sense Down Under. Plus, Australian agencies are quite a long way from network headquarters, so nobody worries too much if you change the formula a little.

Another driving force is the globalisation of marketing. Increasingly, TV spots are being imported from elsewhere. Take one of our main clients, Sony. Naturally, it is running the TV work from Fallon London. Why wouldn't it? That means production funds are freed up for investing in 360-degree campaigns.

We can concentrate on bringing the Bravia Bunnies to life online and for MySony club customers. In celebration of the bunnies, we even invented a Facebook application that allows you to share Plasticine shapes with friends that morph into different animals every time you log in. So, in Australia, globalisation means that if you want a healthy top line and margin, learn new tricks.

I recently judged a bunch of New Zealand campaigns and found the trend even more evident there. With plenty of clients who'll never have a TV budget, New Zealand agencies get very inventive about spreading campaigns by other means.

It's an interesting learning experience for an agency to play different roles for different clients.

But the great problem here is who is the integrator? Clients want to be, but they seldom have the headcount to do it effectively. Lead agencies could, but are seldom trusted. They are seen as wanting to get their hands on the whole pie - but that's for another article. As a result, the upsides of this are obvious, but there are pitfalls, too. The struggle to preserve deep craft skills is ever present, to not become the jack-of-all-trades and master of none. It's tempting to hire the creative who's good at this, who can turn his hand to a bit of that, and isn't too shabby at the other - except that's the road to disaster.

Some of this is merely just a feature of the channel blur we all live in now, but in a smaller market at the bottom of Asia, one-trick ponies get fewer oats.

Brendan Tansey is the chief executive of Euro RSCG Australia. He takes over as the chief executive of the Wunderman UK agency next month.