About us

1,700

Employees in total

400

Staff own shares in the company

Company Purpose

Clemenger Group Limited is the holding company of a group of companies involved in advertising and marketing communications throughout Australia and New Zealand. We operate across the marketing services spectrum with specialist companies offering clients best-of-category expertise in various disciplines.

The company’s purpose is to provide the most compelling commercial content, no matter what the distribution channel.

1946

Clemenger Advertising opens

History

John Clemenger Advertising started in Melbourne in 1946. It was 100% owned by the late John Clemenger until he died in 1965 and was succeeded by his sons Peter and John Clemenger. Peter Clemenger remains on the Clemenger Board today.

By the early 1970s the company was well established in Australia, but at that point it was decided that selling a part of the business to an international advertising agency network would be in the company’s long-term best interests.

A plan was devised and successfully implemented to sell about one third of the company to BBDO and one third of the company to staff, with the remaining third to be held by Peter and John Clemenger.

At about the same time, the decision was also taken to move into New Zealand. Clemenger had as many as ten clients who were operating in both Australia and New Zealand, and the Group needed a long-term New Zealand partner. After looking at the market in some depth, Clemenger chose to buy a minority interest in a new agency, Colenso, with headquarters in Wellington and a branch office in Auckland. Colenso’s success is now widely acclaimed.

From small beginnings in Melbourne, the Clemenger philosophy has been clear: to share success with staff across all levels; to be part of the world but operate only in Australia and New Zealand; and to expand into other complementary disciplines, such as public relations, CRM, design and media, as well as specialised companies in the experiential marketing area, market research, field marketing, sales promotion and branded information advertising.

Timeline

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1946

1946

March 18, at the age of 45, John ‘Jack’ Clemenger Senior opens John Clemenger Advertising in the basement of the Lombard’s building in Bourke Street, Melbourne. Son Peter is with the company from day one on a starting salary of eight pounds per week. In essence, the agency was a radio production house that every week produced a stream of live programs and coincidentally produced the commercials for their sponsors. John Clemenger Advertising was more frequently called Clemenger Productions back then.

April 1, John Clemenger Limited is incorporated under the Companies Act, 1938. Clients in the early years included Darrods (the style store in the heart of Bourke Street), Kia-ora canned foods, London Baby Carriages, Guests Biscuits and Griffiths Sweets.

1947

In May, John Clemenger Advertising expands and opens an office in Sydney, initially to provide resources for Melbourne client Kia-ora. The office made losses for more than 25 years but never closed down.

The Melbourne office moves to premises in the old boarding house known as Oxford Chambers at 473 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

1949

Peter Clemenger moves to Sydney for 12 months, then spends 18 months overseas before returning to the company in Melbourne in 1952.

1953

Jack Clemenger’s younger son John joins the agency, pretty much straight from university.

1954

Jack Clemenger sends his son John overseas to the United States of America to learn about television, which was coming soon to Australia. John gets a diploma at the New York School of Television.

1955

Jack Clemenger is elected President of the Advertising Association of Australia.

1957

'In Melbourne Tonight' with host Graham Kennedy begins as a five nights a week variety television show – and so too does a great relationship between it and the Clemenger agency, which recognises Kennedy’s special talent to ad-lib and play around with products he was advertising in the live commercials.

Tobacco company Godfrey Phillips appoints Clemenger to launch their new product, Viscount Cigarettes. The brand takes off and soon becomes the number-three seller in Australia. In subsequent years Viscount became the agency’s largest client and at one stage was over 40% of the agency’s business.

1961

In October, Clemenger expands to Brisbane and opens its third office, buying a one-third share in Garnsey Smith & Greene. The name is changed to Garnsey Greene Clemenger.

1962

Jack Clemenger receives an OBE for his services to the community.

Major clients include Peters Ice-Cream, Guests Biscuits, Briquettes, Sitmar and Parsons Foods.

1964

On February 8 Jack Clemenger dies. The agency soon after announces that it will be managed jointly by its two equal owners, Peter and John Clemenger.

1966

In March Peter and John Clemenger purchase Sydney agency Cruickshank Maxwell and merge it with the Clemenger agency, which at the same time changes its status from being a branch office of the Melbourne agency to become John Clemenger (NSW) Pty Ltd.

1967

Clemenger expands to Adelaide. Preference shares are exchanged with Martin Kinnear Neate and it becomes Martin Kinnear Clemenger.

1968

Clemenger in Melbourne moves to 416 St Kilda Road.

1969

Peter and John Clemenger, who each own 50% of the company, decide to sell some shares in the business to staff. The first two shareholders are Peter Cooper and Peter Rankin.

1970

In December, Clemenger moves to Perth, buying into an agency owned by Ian Parkes and forming Parkes Clemenger.

1971

Geoff Wild moves from Clemenger Melbourne to Sydney to become Managing Director.

The staff shareholding scheme that began with the sale of just 400 shares to two staff in 1969 is expanded, with 74,000 shares being offered to senior executives around Australia.

A holding company, Clemenger Australia Limited, is incorporated, and then acquires shares in John Clemenger and its subsidiaries and affiliates.

1972

In May, having developed a relationship over a 20-year period, Clemenger makes the significant decision to join forces with BBDO and sell them a 35% shareholding. Peter Clemenger joins the BBDO Worldwide Board.

1973

In January Clemenger buys Melbourne agency Alexander Moulton, which has handled Coles advertising for many years. The agency changes its name to Clemenger Moulton and Peter Harvie, who had joined Clemenger in 1966 as Radio Manager, moves to the agency to run it. Later, after the agency moved into the Bryson Centre on Exhibition Street in Melbourne, it changed its name to Clemenger Bryson.

In October Clemenger expands across the Tasman and purchases 20% of Colenso. Hylton Mackley, one of the four founders of Colenso and its first Managing Director, is still with the Clemenger Group today and is the company’s second-longest serving employee after Peter Clemenger.

1975

In June, Clemenger purchases a 42.5% share in industrial advertising agency EG Holt & Associates – a company that has advertising and PR agencies in both Sydney and Melbourne.

In a move into Asia in October, Clemenger purchases a 25% interest in an advertising agency in Hong Kong, which had been operating at that time for just 12 months. The agency becomes Clemenger Wong & Waters.

1977

The Clemenger Holding Company converts to Public Company status under the Companies Act.

The Brisbane agency changes its name to Garnsey Clemenger.

1978

BBDO purchases a further 10% stake of the Clemenger Group, now owning 45%.

Clemenger buys 25% of Sydney agency Magnus, Nankervis & Curl.

1979

Robert Morgan, the company Executive Chairman today, joins Clemenger Melbourne.

In February, Clemenger sells its interest in Clemenger Wong Waters (which had grown to 49%) to new Holding Company BBDO/Clemenger Limited.

Clemenger buys 25% of Batey Ads in Singapore.

By the end of the 1970’s, Clemenger has grown to become the second largest agency in Australia.

1980

Clemenger Bryson becomes Clemenger Harvie.

Clemenger purchases a 25% interest in a Sydney-based sales incentive company called Sales Development.

1982

Interest in Asia continues to grow with the acquisition of 20% of Malaysia agency Wings Creative Consultants.

Clemenger Direct is established to specialise in direct marketing. It later becomes the number-one direct marketing agency in Australia, with offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

1984

Clemenger Melbourne moves to 474 St Kilda Road.

1985

Clemenger Direct Response establishes a branch office in Sydney.

In June, Clemenger purchases an 80% interest in Sydney agency Harris Robinson Courtenay.

1986

Clemenger Sydney moves to new offices at 120 Pacific Highway, St Leonards.

1987

Hylton Mackley is appointed Financial Director of Clemenger Australia.

1988

Port Productions is created as a television production house (50% owned by the Clemenger Group and 25% owned by DDB Needham).

This year proves to be a stellar one for the Group. B&T name Clemenger Agency of the Year and Clemenger Melbourne wins AdNews National Agency of the Year. Clemenger Melbourne added $25 million in new business, including National Mutual Royal Bank, Just Jeans, Australia Post Express Courier, Bowater, Sorbent, Herbert Adams, Sportscraft, Libra, Fleur, Spring Valley, Angus & Robertson, Nabisco, Uncle Toby’s and Best Foods. Group pre-tax profit jumped 39.5% on the year prior to a new high of $16.84 million. Staff shareholders grew to over 300 in number. Clemenger Chairman Peter Clemenger is voted Most Outstanding Managing Director in a survey at the IAA Congress.

1989

Robert Morgan becomes Managing Director of Clemenger Melbourne.

1990

John Clemenger retires.

Greg Daniel, David Blackley and Robert Morgan are appointed to the Clemenger Holding Company Board.

1992

Peter Harvie retires from the Clemenger Holding Company board.

1994

The largest clients of the Group include Australian Dairy Corporation, BankSA, Just Jeans, National Mutual, News Corporation, Pacific Dunlop, Pizza Hut, Uncle Tobys, Channel Ten, National Brewing, Nestle, NSW Lotteries, Pepsi, Sterling and Yellow Pages.

Clemenger Melbourne wins AdNews National Agency of the Year.

Harvie Advertising changes its name to Clemenger Harvie.

1995

For the second year running, Clemenger Melbourne wins AdNews National Agency of the Year.

1996

The 50th anniversary of the Clemenger Group is celebrated and BBDO holds a worldwide meeting in Australia to help mark the milestone.

1998

Robert Morgan is appointed Clemenger Group Chairman.

Clemenger acquires a majority shareholding in public affairs firm CorPol Alliances group, which is renamed Government Relations Australia in 2000.

2000

Melbourne agency The Edge is acquired and merged into Clemenger Harvie to form Clemenger Harvie Edge (CHE).

Proximity Worldwide is launched in London as a new generation network that integrates database, CRM, interactive and DM principles. Clemenger Direct changes its name to Clemenger Proximity.

Clemenger Group acquires shares in Cultural Perspectives, a specialist multicultural marketing agency with offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

2001

Experiential agency Traffik is launched on October 1.

2006

Clemenger BBDO wins AdNews Network of the Year for the third year in a row.

Clemenger Group acquires shares in Cosway Australia, a leading corporate and financial communications firm celebrating its 50th year.

Quickstrike is launched on July 1.

2008

Digital agency NetX is purchased and rolled into Clemenger Proximity in Sydney.

Clemenger Group acquires shares in Brandworld in New Zealand.

Clemenger Group acquires shares in Open Mind Research.

Government Relations Australia completes its national office network by joining with leading local public affairs adviser, Paul Everingham, to form GRA Everingham in Perth

2009

Clemenger Group acquires Raydar.

2010

Gallery De Pasquale in Brisbane is acquired and merged into the agency.

Open Mind Research becomes Hall & Partners | Open Mind.

2011

Clemenger sells half of its shares to BBDO, which now holds 74% of the business.

Clemenger Group acquires shares in Touchcast.

Curtis Jones & Brown changes its name to URSA Clemenger.

2013

Clemenger Harvie Edge changes its name to CHE Proximity and re-engineers itself as a data driven agency.

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne wins Campaign Brief Creative Agency of the Year for the fifth consecutive year, emphasising the agency’s creative strength over a sustained period.

Clemenger Group acquires shares in Redhanded.

Clemenger Group buys justONE.

Colenso BBDO is named the world’s best agency by The Big Won Report and the world’s best direct marketing agency, an astonishing achievement for our agency in Auckland.

2014

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne wins the Interactive Agency of the Year award.

Government Relations Australia celebrates its 20th year and merges with Cosway to form GRACosway, Australia’s leading integrated public affairs and corporate and financial communications firm.

Channel 5 is 100% owned by Clemenger Group from July 1st.

Clemenger Group increases shareholding to take a majority interest in Marketforce.

2015

After a rich 47 year history in Adelaide, Clemenger sells the agency and exits the Adelaide market.

hub+, Clemenger Group’s production agency, becomes eg+.

2016

On March 18, the Clemenger Group celebrates 70 years since opening.

Staff Fund

The Clemenger Staff Fund is a sub-fund of the Australian Communities Foundation, and has been set up to enable the employees and companies that make up Clemenger Group to give something back to the community.

The Fund opened in May 2008 with an initial contribution of $100,000. The company matches all voluntary staff contributions dollar for dollar.

We currently have a committee in both Sydney and Melbourne who decide on registered charities to support. Anyone can make a proposal for the committee to evaluate.

Board Members

Robert Morgan

Executive Chairman

Clemenger Group Limited

Robert has been with Clemenger BBDO since 1979. In 1998 he became Executive Chairman of the Clemenger Group. He is also a Director of BBDO Worldwide and QBE Sydney Swans.

Jonathan Isaacs

Chief Financial Officer

Clemenger Group Limited

Jonathan has a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of NSW and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He joined the Clemenger Group in 2000 and was appointed Finance Director of Clemenger BBDO (Melbourne) in 2001. He was appointed to the Board of Clemenger Group Ltd in February 2010.

Peter Clemenger

Director

Clemenger Group Limited

Peter was a co-founder of the company in April 1946. He retired as Chairman of the Clemenger Group Limited, but continues as a Director. Peter was appointed to the board of Directors of the Clemenger Group in 1971.

Hylton Mackley

Finance Director

Clemenger Group Limited

Hylton became associated with the Clemenger Group Limited when the company took a minority shareholding in Colenso BBDO Limited (New Zealand) in 1972. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of Clemenger Group Limited Australia in 1972.

James McGrath

Creative Chairman

Clemenger BBDO Australia

He joined the Melbourne agency in 2006 as Executive Creative Director. In that time the agency has been creatively acclaimed year on year.

Andy Pontin

Chief Executive Officer

Clemenger BBDO Sydney

Andy Pontin is CEO of Clemenger BBDO Sydney, responsible for the Clemenger BBDO Proximity and Porter Novelli businesses. He won the coveted Direct Marketer of the Year Award in 2003, and was inducted into the ADMA Hall of Fame in 2012.

Jim Moser

Chief Executive Officer

Clemenger Group NZ and Chairman of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne

Jim is an American-Australian who has worked in North America, Europe and Australasia. He joined Clemenger BBDO Sydney in 1999 and spent nine years as Managing Director. In 2008, Jim’s prime responsibility became overseeing all of the group companies in New Zealand.

Les Timar

Chief Executive Officer and Founding Partner

GRACosway

A lawyer by training, Les has responsibility for the overall management and strategic development of GRACosway, as well as overseeing its public affairs practice.

Nicola Hepenstall

Managing Director

Hall & Partners Open Mind Research

Nicola has been with Hall & Partners Open Mind for 12 years and has been Managing Director since 2008, when the agency became part of the Clemenger Group. Nicola is widely recognised as a leader in the market research industry, having been President of the peak industry body AMSRO.

Brigid Alkema

Executive Creative Director

Clemenger BBDO Wellington

Brigid started her career at Clemenger BBDO Wellington in 2000 and also worked with DDB and Clemenger in Sydney before returning to her beloved Wellington. She became Executive Creative Director in May 2015 and is recognised as one of the top creative directors in the world. 

James Neale

Chief Executive Officer

Traffik Group

James has been with Clemenger for 20 years and has built Traffik into one of Australia’s foremost experiential, shopper and brand activation agencies. He has global experience in brand activation, with four years in the UK and Europe. He also has expertise in sports sponsorship and activation, which are incredibly important areas in marketing today.

Chris Howatson

Chief Executive Officer

CHE Proximity Australia

Chris has transformed CHE Proximity into one of the most successful ‘new-age’ digital, data and direct agencies in our region since becoming Chief Executive Officer three years ago. The agency is now a leader in the Proximity Worldwide Network. Chris currently divides his time between the new CHE Sydney office and the much bigger Melbourne operation. These are exciting times for CHE Proximity.

Nick Garrett

Chief Executive Officer

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne

Nick moved to Melbourne in late 2015 from Colenso BBDO, where he was CEO for five years. In that time Colenso BBDO was consistently recognised as one of the top creative agencies in the world. Nick is a passionate believer in creativity and is constantly looking for new ways to use creativity in the digital economy.

Mike Higgins

Chief Financial Officer

Clemenger Group New Zealand

Mike is not only a top financial guy, but a great Clemenger person. He’s worked in Wellington and Auckland and knows our businesses in New Zealand back to front. Mike is a great people person as well as a strong finance guy, and is a member of our Group Finance Committee.

Andrew Robertson

President & Chief Executive Officer

BBDO Worldwide

Andrew first came to BBDO in the UK in 1995, joining Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, where he subsequently served as Chief Executive Officer. In 2001, he moved to BBDO North America to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer. He has been President and Chief Executive Officer of BBDO Worldwide since June 2004. Andrew has a degree in Economics from City of London University.

Dara Akbarian

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Omnicom Group and Omnicom (Asia Pacific)

Dara received his BA in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley and his MBA, with honors, from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business. He is the regional Chief Financial Officer for Omnicom's APIMA operations.

Chris Lovell

Chairman

Holding Redlich Melbourne (Lawyers & Consultants) Non-Executive Director

Chris has a Bachelor of Arts (Melbourne), Bachelor of Law (Melbourne) and Master of Law (London). His principal area of commercial practice is media and communications, property development and corporate structures and governance. Chris was appointed to the Board of Directors of Clemenger Group Limited in 1999.

26.33%

shares owned by staff

Share Scheme

Since 1973 the Clemenger Group (Clemenger) has operated a staff share scheme that entitles all employees of companies within the group in Australia and New Zealand to apply for shares. At 31 December 2015, of the 1,698 Clemenger Group employees, 351 were shareholders, owning a total 26.33% of Clemenger shares. BBDO Worldwide Inc. of New York – a major global agency owned by the US-listed Omnicom Group – owns 73.67%.

Although Clemenger Group Limited is a public company under Australian corporations law, it is an unlisted public company, so the shares are not available to the general public through the Securities Exchange.

The shares are valued once per year according to a formula detailed in the Clemenger constitution. This involves adding the adjusted net assets of the group (after allowing for declared dividends) to an amount equal to 8.0 times the groups average after-tax profits for the preceding three financial years, and then dividing that amount by the number of shares on issue. Clemenger employs an independent accounting firm, KPMG, to review the share price calculation for accuracy.

For more information, please contact:

Australia: Adrian Ciabotti:

adrian.ciabotti@clemenger.com.au

New Zealand: Guy Palmer: 

guy.palmer@clemenger.co.nz