Company Profiles in association withLBB Pro

Evidence-Based Creativity Provides the Roadmap for Thinkerbell’s Growth

Advertising Agency
Melbourne, Australia
The agency’s CEO and chief creative tinker explain to LBB’s Esther Faith Lew why its dichotomous approach connects with clients

2017 was the year Australia witnessed the creation of a new advertising agency model and business proposition that was uncommon at the time. One only needs to reference its thought-provoking logo of Rodin’s The Thinker with Tinkerbell to have an idea of Thinkerbell’s approach. 

Thinkerbell’s dichotomous approach introduced a weighty counterbalance to the creative realm of advertising. “What makes us unique in our approach is how marketing science meets hardcore creativity, and it’s this ‘measured magic’ that drives the entire agency. It’s what we promise, it’s what we do and it’s our operating rhythm,” says Jim Ingram, national chief creative tinker.

The agency has grown steadily over the years with a strong client mix across industry sectors, resulting in “a strong culture, good creative output, and happy clients”, says agency partner and CEO Margie Reid, who oversees both Thinkerbell North and South, and assists in the management of DOA, s p a c e, and Hocus Focus. 

Evidence-based creativity is at the heart of Thinkerbell’s approach and this synergy in harnessing both scientific inquiry and fairy magic has garnered its share of followers. While still a young agency, Thinkerbell has a strong operating model in place, and it has built an established brand reputation for taking unconventionality and turning it into opportunity for clients. 

Fast forward five years later, the agency is ready to take on the New Zealand market. Shares Margie, “New Zealand has always been attractive to us as a market to enter. It's arguably the most creative country in the world, and we are really keen to set up shop there. The opportunities that have come our way recently have just made us decide that now is the right time.”

The New Zealand market, which is more restrained in tone, aligns well with Thinkerbell’s unconventional way of tackling creative ideas, which can be impactful yet subtle at the same time. “Kiwis use a lot of restraint and don’t feel the need to explain everything. 

“Kiwi advertising also has a lot of 'fuck it, let’s give it a try' vibe to it, rather than having to have it polished and contrived. We are really keen to pay reverence to the New Zealand way of doing things, and therefore, we won't open unless we can find Kiwis to be part owners in the business," says Jim.

As an agency that has torn down conventions and redefined traditional roles, the New Zealand branch is also expected to have tinkers and thinkers in place to “do away with traditional baton passing and lost communication”. “Having a creative and a planner/account manager co-front each account means we listen more and get it wrong less,” says Jim.

Getting the right people with the right mindset are key to Thinkerbell’s continued success in New Zealand. “We are looking for exceptional yet unconventional people who are willing to operate just outside their comfort levels to stretch their skills. If you love siloes, hierarchy and tradition, then you may not be what we’re looking for,” says Margie.

At the end of the day, what really matters at Thinkerbell are not so much the perceived values in approaching work, but more of being able to walk the talk. “We don’t have values; they are too passive. We live and breathe our actions instead: stay sexy, stay curious, stay kind, stay with it, and stay unicorn,” concludes Jim.