When Less Is More

Creative office

Creative industries are notoriously high-pressure environments, with agency life no exception. The classic claim that tight turnarounds are the enemy of creativity is a popular one, but are looming deadlines and fast turnarounds always to the detriment of the work and team?

Well, that depends. There are different kinds of fast.


The first kind is negative. It fuels a way of working that decreases job satisfaction. More often than not, it comes down to fear. Fear of not having enough time to meet expectations and fear of not getting results. With fear in the driver’s seat there’s always an inclination towards recycling, sticking with “safe” options and churning out work deathly similar to what came before it.


Then there’s that other kind of fast; the kind fostered in a creative environment where ideas are free flowing, with little emphasis on who came up with them.

The goal of a level playing field is not one person hitting a home run and basking in the glory. It’s assembling the right team, within which everyone is free to tap into his or her instincts. The team can then ping pong through the creative development process with a workshop mentality, making the work better, faster.

This is one of the ways a smaller agency has an advantage. Without a hierarchy of multiple layers, we know each other well – our quirks, strengths and weaknesses. The most junior person regularly interacts with the founder. We trust that colleagues will get the job done because we’ve seen them do it before first-hand. Not mandatory, but a helpful reassurance when under pressure.

Working within a tight timeframe demands focus and undivided attention; it can actually align stakeholders externally as well. Clients appreciate the feeling of momentum and third parties know the project won’t bleed across into their next project.

Decisions are made quickly, and despite popular opinion, the sheer lack of time can lead to more ingenuity. We can all point to examples where creativity seemed to be sparked by extreme time pressure. If traditionally a project could take six months, when you’re actually given just two, figuring out how results in innovative ideas from the outset, not just reduced production times.

The way in which ideas are quickly generated and pulled through into execution is a proven process, fine-tuned over many years. It’s a framework everyone knows how to work within; again, much easier in a small agency where everyone is exposed to the work.

New team members learn the process by taking part in it and are encouraged by the knowledge that mistakes are okay until they are well versed. When you create an environment in which your processes are in sync with a democratic ideas culture, deadlines are merely a date by which we need to hit send.

We took this approach on a recent project for national bedding retailer, Snooze. From successful pitch through to completed assets, we had six weeks. We assigned a senior, streamlined team and delivered a new brand platform and campaign across TV, radio, outdoor, social and digital channels. It was exceedingly fast, and the work was decidedly polished.

With the dust settling, we had a minute to reflect and were reminded of a few things. Firstly, on a pragmatic level, projects tend to fill the time they are allotted. But more importantly, an agency’s biggest capital is its people. People are often more capable than they think, and when trusted will step forward and do their best work.



Digital Lead

Whippet AUS

Whippet takes home Silver at the Melbourne Design Awards


The awards keep coming for our brand transformation work on Sri Lankan supermarket chain Keells, this time a Silver at the Melbourne Design Awards last night!


Whippets (left to right) Tod O’Reilly, Pete Forbes and Kate Watts were in attendance to receive the award.

“It’s always nice to see our work acknowledged by industry peers. It’s praise for a job well done.”

- Tod, Whippet ECD

See the work here.



Digital Lead

Whippet AUS

Amazon Australia – 6 months in. A storm in a teacup? Or the calm before the storm?

How did an online reseller with almost no visible physical footprint grow into the second most valuable company in the world? And now that Amazon has been operating in Australia for 6 months, how has it affected Aussie retail?

When Amazon first hit the web in 1995, Jeff Bezos hoped for it to become the biggest bookstore in the world. 23 years later, there’s not much that Amazon doesn’t sell – except for fresh food, hence its acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year. Some experts are predicting that Amazon will become the world’s first trillion-dollar company in the next 12 months.

Amazon became such a behemoth for a multitude of reasons – but the most important by far was its unrivalled focus on fulfilment. Since Amazon’s inception, customers have learned to trust that whatever they buy, they’ll soon have it in their hot little hands.

Jeff Bezos’ famous penchant for prioritising growth over profit has meant that prices on Amazon have traditionally been largely unbeatable, and when you combine excellent pricing with excellent fulfilment, it’s no wonder that Amazon now processes millions and millions of sales every day.

Amazon Australia’s launch in December last year drew criticism due to its smaller-than-expected inventory. But 6 months later, when you take a look at its inventory, it is enormous – and it’s only going to grow.

This item does not ship to Australia

These seven words were the bane of early adopting Aussies shopping on the US & UK Amazon sites. But on Amazon Australia, you won’t see those seven words anywhere, meaning no more frustration of finding the perfect item at an amazing price, only to be told you couldn’t have it.

As soon as Aussies become habituated – like Americans and Brits have – to purchasing almost anything they need from Amazon at a great price, and that it will be delivered to them at breakneck speed, that’s when things will really heat up.

Yet, immediately after launch, Aussie retailers seem rather unfazed. And for now, Amazon’s arrival has hardly upset the applecart. In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in February this year Aussie retail sales rose by 0.6% to $24.45 billion in seasonally adjusted terms, doubling the median economist forecast that was looking for an increase of 0.3%. So for now, things are looking up – but for how long?

A quick search online shows me that I can buy the same inexpensive 4K Samsung TV from Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, Retravision, ebay.com.au, and now, Amazon Australia.

Surprising? Not really. But how long until I can buy a can of branded tinned tomatoes from Amazon Australia? According to UBS’s 2018 supplier survey, almost half of Australia’s food and grocery suppliers are now in talks with Amazon – so I’m guessing it won’t be long. And how long until Amazon will automatically send me top-ups of items that I buy with regular frequency, like shampoo or toothpaste?

With Amazon’s almost trillion dollars behind them, it’s hard to imagine that they won’t be able to provide equally good (if not better) fulfilment than Woolworths or Coles online, so what can bricks-and-mortar retailers do to compete?

Let’s get physical 

Maybe retailers are unfazed because online shopping in Australia still represents less than 8% of total spend. But the taxi industry was sitting pretty for decades before it was ‘Ubered’ seemingly overnight.

To stand out and help keep Amazon from swallowing more and more market share, retailers must provide what Amazon cannot – an amazing, multi-sensory in-store experience.

As a customer, I want to squeeze my avocados to test if they’re ripe. I want to see my fresh fillet of salmon sitting on ice. I want to speak to the salesperson to see if they think I should get the bigger size of jeans. I want to lie down and test the comfort of a mattress before I take it home.

As retailers move toward self-checkouts, or even take a leaf from Amazon Go and do away with checkouts altogether, who will provide the human interaction in store? And without an amazing in-store experience, especially one with human interaction, why wouldn’t people just buy online?

The answer lies in turning every team member into a passionate, knowledgeable advocate of the goods they’re selling.

Last night I asked one of the service assistants at the deli in my local supermarket where the ham came from. They smiled and apologised for not knowing. Of course, I wasn’t expecting them to know. But with the juggernaut of Amazon Australia slowly waking up, they absolutely should.



Digital Lead

Whippet AUS

5 Years and Counting… A celebration of the flybuys Rewards Magazine

Time flies when you’re having fun; Five years in fact. With the latest edition of the flybuys Rewards Magazine ready to hit the market in July, there’s never been a better time to look back and celebrate our part in the nationwide quarterly publication.


A fruitful collaboration between Whippet and the flybuys team, the flybuys Rewards Magazine has come a long way… What started as a simple brochure back in 2013 has transformed into a 16-page magazine packed full of rewards, ideas and inspiration distributed to millions of members of the flybuys loyalty program.


Watch out for our latest edition of the flybuys Rewards Magazine, hitting mailboxes and inboxes this July!




Digital Lead

Whippet AUS

Whippet Australia drums up a ‘Highly Commended’ at The Drum Awards

We’re pleased to announce our work for Sri Lankan supermarket chain Keells picked up a ‘Highly Commended’ at The Drum Design Awards last night in London!

Whippet founder Steve Stoner (left) was in attendance: “A great acknowledgement for design effectiveness in retail. Well done to the Whippet team in Melbourne and a big thanks to the Keells team in Colombo for bringing it to reality.”

Take a look at the work here.





Digital Lead

Whippet AUS

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