Saatchi & Saatchi bolsters strategic capability with senior hires + launch of The Culture Studio

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Saatchi & Saatchi bolsters strategic capability with senior hires + launch of The Culture Studio

(Pictured L-R: Jonny Almario, Tim Cullinane, David McIndoe, Sarah Hodgetts, Clinton Mellsop)

Following a period of continued growth, including becoming the lead brand and creative agency for Westpac New Zealand (part of the Publicis Groupe connected model), Saatchi & Saatchi is further adding to its strategic offering with the addition of new senior strategists, and the launch of ‘The Culture Studio’.


These appointments include Tim Cullinane, in the newly created position of head of idea design, Sarah Hodgetts as strategy director and Clinton Mellsop in the role of associate strategy director.

Cullinane brings extensive brand and customer experience that has taken him all over the world including Asia, North America and Europe with companies such as BBH, Tribal, DDB and Critical Mass. Cullinane’s role will strategically help clients to create connected ideas across their brand eco systems, with depth.

Says Cullinane: “The way people experience brands is fundamentally changing. Saatchi & Saatchi are famously woven into the cultural fabric of New Zealand, so I am excited to partner with the team and clients here to help build some of New Zealand’s most iconic and loved brands.”

Hodgetts returns with 20+ years of experience in the industry between Clemenger, BBDO, Assignment, Culture and Theory, and originally, Saatchi & Saatchi. In that time, she has strategically and insightfully helped enable some of New Zealand’s most iconic and creatively revered ideas to flourish across the Defence Force Recruitment, Sanitarium, New World, Women’s Refuge and Coca-Cola brands.

Mellsop has recently returned from Melbourne, where he worked for independent agencies TPF & Fenton Stephens over the past decade. Mellsop brings extensive experience in brand strategy, account management, and communications planning to the role. Drawn to Saatchi & Saatchi by their dedication to unlock cultural creativity across branded ecosystems and the media landscape of New Zealand.

Says David McIndoe, chief strategy officer, Saatchi & Saatchi: “The new strategy team brings such a great diversity of skills and perspectives. From culture to connectivity, rallying these different points of view around our work is not only opening up new paths and opportunities, it’s also great fun.”

In addition to the appointments, the agency has also launched ‘The Culture Studio’, a dedicated discipline focused on understanding, connecting with, and reflecting the many communities that make up New Zealand.

Driven by cultural strategist Jonny Almario, the studio delivers cultural intelligence, insight and community perspectives through anthropology exploration, analysis and reporting into client business and creative opportunities.

Adds McIndoe: “The Culture Studio gives us a unique, and often challenging perspective on the challenges we’re trying to solve. Bringing a genuinely human point of view, it has already proven itself invaluable in our drive for ideas that connect with and contribute to New Zealand culture.”