DDB New Zealand Hires ECD Away From TBWA\Singapore

By Lindsay Rittenhouse 

DDB New Zealand has hired Gary Steele as executive creative director, who will join in May.

Steele most recently held that title at TBWA Singapore. He’s credited with leading some of the agency’s most recent creative account wins including Singapore Airlines, one of the most hotly contested in the region. While there, Steele also worked with clients including Airbnb, Spotify, Netflix, MasterCard, Adidas, Michelin and Playstation, and produced campaigns such as the “Where Passion is Made Possible” for the Singapore Tourism Board.


“I think the global advertising industry is looking at New Zealand right now and wondering if there’s something special in the water down here,” said Damon Stapleton, DDB New Zealand chief creative officer. “A few months ago we announced Chris Willingham joining us from W+K Portland and now Gary’s joining the team as well—a world-class creative who was leading a highly awarded agency of 300-plus people in Singapore.”

Stapleton continued, “Bernbach said creativity is the last unfair advantage we’re allowed to take over our competitors, and I think between Gary and the incredible creative team we’ve developed internally over the last few years, we’re making sure our clients have every unfair advantage possible to grow their business.”

The appointment follows DDB’s recent rebrand, which included the unveiling of a new logo that is essentially a revamped version of its very first one—two Ds, one yellow and one black, stacked on top of one another with the agency’s full name, Doyle Dane Bernbach (after founders Ned Doyle, Mac Dane and Bill Bernbach), etched into the bottom D.

“Watching DDB New Zealand from afar, I’ve seen some fantastic work that really caught my attention,” Steele said in a statement. “I can’t wait. Between the outstanding stable of brave clients DDB NZ is fortunate to have, and the exceptional creative team I’ll be working alongside, I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Steele has 19 years of experience working at agencies across Africa, Asia and Europe, and was named Singapore’s most influential creative directors for the last four consecutive years.