Top TBWA APAC creatives Dave Bowman and Matty Burton leave to join startup

Dave Bowman and Matty Burton

Dave Bowman and Matty Burton

Ad agency TBWA has lost two of its most influential creative directors in Asia with the news that Dave Bowman and Matty Burton, ECDs at Whybin\TBWA in Sydney, are leaving to join a startup.

The duo, who have been helping TBWA offices in other APAC markets with briefs, are moving on to The Special Group, an agency that started out in New Zealand and has recently opened an office in Australia, Mumbrella’s Australia site is reporting.

The signing is regarded as one of the biggest coups on Australia’s creative scene in recent years.

The duo are among the most highly regarded and awarded creatives in Australia, and have worked together for almost 20 years at agencies including Droga5 in New York, Saatchi & Saatchi in New Zealand and for the last four years as the creative force behind the turnaround of Whybin\TBWA over the last four years as joint-ECDs under CEO Paul Bradbury.

They told Mumbrella they were enticed by the prospect of joining another startup agency. Burton saide: “We have worked at many start-ups over our careers; either at the bottom, in the middle or helping to lead the charge. Places like Whybin Lawrence TBWA, Host, The Glue Society, Droga5 New York and Droga5 Australia. We’ve been watching and learning the whole time and our entire careers have been in anticipation of this moment. We will fail at times. We will succeed at others. But it will be the journey that we are most looking forward to.”

The duo have picked up more than 40 Cannes Lions in their careers, including 11 Gold, two Titanium and one Grand Prix and have won six Yellow Pencils and one Black Pencil at D&AD.

Their recent work includes working on accounts including the multi-award winning NRMA Insurance work, David Jones, Lion Nathan and Tourism New Zealand. It was the pair’s second stint with Whybin\TBWA having worked with the agency from 1998 to 2004.

Bowman and Burton join as founding creative partners and are taking an equity stake in The Special Group, which came to Australia from New Zealand under the leadership of the former Campaign Palace and Happy Soldiers boss Lindsey Evans in June.

TBWA is understood to be searching for replacements. An official start date at The Special Group has yet to be confirmed for the pair.


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