Advertise with

Sue Napier
Sue Napier
Sue Napier
Sue Napier

Mr Price poaches manager of go-getting ad agency


Business Day Live - May 13th 2016, 11:34

In a blow to multi award-winning advertising agency Ireland/Davenport, it has lost its MD to Mr Price. 

Sue Napier, who has been at the agency since its launch in 2005, had resigned, she confirmed on Thursday.

Napier, who was born in Durban, is returning to her home city to become marketing director of retail chain Mr Price’s apparel division.

She will leave the agency at the end of next month. No decision has been made yet on her successor.

Until the middle of last year, Johannesburg-based Ireland/Davenport was considered one of the most successful independent start-ups in the South African advertising industry.

Named after its founding partners, Philip Ireland and John Davenport, its first client was German car maker BMW. This was followed by names such as Avis and Plascon before South African Tourism, in 2010, and then Vodacom, in 2013, catapulted it into the big league.

The success persuaded global advertising and communications group WPP to buy a stake in Ireland/Davenport, and the agency’s management won a national leadership award at the 2014 industry AdFocus awards.

But it all unravelled in the space of a few weeks in mid-2015, when Vodacom, South African Tourism and BMW all moved their business to other agencies. Vodacom alone accounted for 40% of Ireland/Davenport’s revenue. This led to substantial job losses at the agency.

"It was incredibly hard to do," said Napier. "We had never retrenched anyone before."

At the time, critics suggested the agency had bitten off more than it could chew with the Vodacom account, one of South Africa’s biggest, which previously resided with the large, foreign-owned Draft FCB SA group and is now managed by the even bigger Ogilvy & Mather SA.

Since then, Ireland/Davenport has regained some ground with the Isuzu vehicles and Budget Car Rental accounts. Most recently, it has won business from MultiChoice’s GOtv channel and the Refreshhh soft drinks range.

Despite the crisis of a year ago, Napier said she had no thoughts of leaving then. "It never crossed my mind. It was an incredibly challenging time and I had to be there to start turning things around again."

Napier said: "It’s hard for anyone to take a piece of business the size of Vodacom but we knew what we were doing. We had the capacity. I am very proud of the work we did for the brand. I have no regrets about that or any other of the accounts we landed."

Napier, who has been in the advertising industry for nearly 20 years, said she began considering a return to Durban a few months ago. Mr Price approached her with a job offer in late March and the deal was done.

"The offer was simply too good to ignore."From Business Day Live 

Related News

Pick n Pay unveils its revamped "On Nicol" flagship store
18/10/2019 - 10:59
Pick n Pay’s flagship store On Nicol officially welcomed customers after a comprehensive revamp. The refurbished store has an exciting array of new offerings with the very best in retail concepts developed in South Africa and from around the world. Customers can expect an enhanced fresh food experience, a huge focus on product quality, a much-improved range, innovative third-party services, and refreshed customer service.

Tough economy put a chill on Mr Price retail sales
23/08/2019 - 09:24
A tough economic climate has put pressure on Mr Price's fashion retail sales, as customer spending remained constrained, the company said in a trading statement for the first four months of its financial year ended March 28.

Mr Price rethinks international strategy after leaving Australia
03/06/2019 - 13:52
Mr Price Group’s new CEO wants the retailer to take a new approach to offshore growth after the group pulled the plug on its fledgling Australian business and as it considers doing the same in Poland.

Mr Price Group's shares rally on annual results
31/05/2019 - 10:16
Mr Price Group’s shares opened sharply higher after the company raised its annual dividend thanks to better earnings.

Is social media becoming a pivotal piece of the market conduct puzzle?
29/05/2019 - 09:19
The growing influence of consumer opinion and the trend towards outcomes-based market conduct regulation means organisations can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to social media.