Category: Australia/New Zealand Agency Head of the Year; Australia/New Zealand Independent Agency of the Year; Australia/New Zealand Performance Agency of the Year
Key clients: Bupa, BMW, Origin Energy, Lendlease, Tourism Northern Territory
New clients: Entain, Aware Super, Salesforce, Craveable Brands, My Muscle Chef
Highlights: Atomic 212° brought the gold rush back to Australia at this year’s ANZ Agency of the Year awards, bagging top honours in three categories — Agency Head of the Year, Independent Agency of the Year, and Performance Agency of the Year.
CEO Claire Fenner won the individual honour and it was under her stewardship that Atomic 212° not only won these AOY golds but delivered on the agency’s overarching vision to lead the industry in smarter, faster, accountable media. The wins for Fenner and her team kept coming, not least in successfully meeting their mission to make Atomic 212° Australia’s largest independent media agency — an achievement verified by Comvergence.
The proof is in the pudding and Atomic 212° feasted on an impressive $73m in new business, winning 85% of their pitches and retaining a record number of accounts. Success brings its own challenges and Atomic 212°’s substantial growth over the previous two years meant 2023 began with a three-year strategy to ensure a strong foundation for its next phase of growth, comprising aspirations across people, client, process, and product.
When it comes to people, Atomic 212° takes great care in creating unique experiences both internally and externally. Highlights include Alchemy — a three-day summit grounded in indigenous culture, self-development, and connection for both clients and staff — and the internal talent development programme, Academy 212°.
The agency’s robust diversity, equality, and inclusion programme reflects the its diversity and significant observances for communities, including Pride and National Aborigines’ and Islanders’ Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week, as well as Worksafe Wellness and more.
Little wonder perhaps that in a recent workplace survey, 100% of respondents said they were proud to work at Atomic 212°, while its 80% staff retention rate is 31% higher than the Media Federation of Australia average.
Tasked with changing Australians overlooking the Northern Territory when it comes to travel plans but without the budget of its major competitors in other states and territories, Atomic 212° had to think creatively. They targeted Vivid Sydney, an annual festival of light, music, ideas, and food, and hijacked the hype around the event to show the Northern Territory in a new light as a year-round travel destination of spectacular natural beauty. In their own words, the agency “hoped this cheeky, hyper-targeted move would cut through, despite low ad spend and share of voice compared to competitors.”
“Atomic 212° is giving the big boys a run for their money” and “have clearly outperformed legacy agencies,” the panel said in the Performance AOY category. For ANZ Independent AOY, the judges praised the “outstanding” profit growth, while there was much praise for Fenner as agency head. “They do not appear to be suffering from any effects of their scale efforts. Under Claire’s leadership, hunger, humility, and the quest for client-first problem-solving are flourishing.”