Strategy Design & Advertising has announced a merger with long-standing Wellington-based Cue Design. The merger bolsters Strategy’s studio numbers to four — Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Sydney — with 80 staff across the four studios. And there are big plans afoot.
Cue Design has been at the helm of some pretty impressive accounts — the NZ Fire Service, Telecom, Outward Bound, the NZ Police and the NZ Food Safety Authority — to name a few.
Peter Gray, Cue’s founder and managing director, and now managing partner for Strategy’s Wellington office, said he’s looking forward to being part of the Strategy network and bringing “a fresh new level of design-led design and advertising into the Wellington market”.
“Strategy have not only built an enviable reputation for creating outstanding design-led work but have also created an internal culture that inspires confidence, inspiration and passion to craft the very best work for their clients,” he said.
Strategy group managing partner Geoff Cranko said the addition of the Wellington office now gives Strategy a national basis to offer its “world-class, design-led advertising”. Likewise, Gray is looking forward to tapping into the extra resources made available through the merger, saying the Wellington design and advertising market needs "a bit of spice".
That “world-class, design-led advertising’ earned the company an ample number of Gold, Silver and Bronze pins at this year’s Best Awards. It picked up 25 in total, many of which were for its ‘Share an Idea’ campaign for Christchurch. Strategy also recently completed a re-branding exercise for clothing and equipment retail chain Kathmandu.
Of course mergers can be tricky, but Gray is confident about this one saying “it feels right, it feels comfortable”. There were of course your standard “teething issues” that come with every agency merger, but overall “everything has gone remarkably smooth” and it's been “very straightforward from a staff perspective”.
All staff have retained their jobs in the Wellington office, and Gray said the company is even bringing in some fresh (yet not so fresh) blood into the Wellington fold by way of Caspian Ievers, who has been hired in the capacity of design director to help “merge the cultures” of the companies. Ievers previously worked in the Christchurch Strategy office before stepping away and doing independent design consultancy work.
Suffice to say one sure fire way to blend company cultures and break down any walls is the company Christmas party. And after speaking to Gray, it sounds like staff are in for a doozy. Wellington staff are being flown down to Christchurch but beyond that, the plans are a mystery.
And on the point of Christchurch, to say the earthquake has proved a challenge for Strategy is an understatement. With its former office now reduced to a parking lot, Gray is impressed with what the new Christchurch office has managed to do in the difficult aftermath, describing it as "remarkable".