Google’s APAC creative head Tara McKenty joins BMF as chief innovation officer and co-ECD
Google’s APAC creative head Tara McKenty (centre) has joined BMF Australia in the newly created dual role of chief innovation officer and executive creative director as the agency bolsters its creative department with a series of senior promotions – including David Fraser (right) to co-ECD.
McKenty has spent the past 16 years working in the creative industry across the APAC region, most recently as the creative head at Google for nine years. At Google, McKenty was responsible for driving brand love and trust for the Google brand through creativity and working directly with global brands to use Google’s products and platforms in innovative ways.
In addition to her successful tenure at Google, McKenty has created globally renowned work which has been awarded at every major award show across the globe, including OPSM’s ‘Penny the Pirate’, a book and app that tests the eyesight of children; Spark’s ‘Kupu’, an app that translates any image into Te Reo Māori; and Google’s Project Skate, a machine learning tool that can measure the speed, height, and rotation of a skateboarder, and identify tricks in real-time. In addition, McKenty has taken home more than 200 awards including a highly sought-after gold Lion for Innovation, WARC’s Most Effective Campaign in the World, D&AD pencils, One Show Awards, Effie Awards, CLIO’s, New York Festival Awards and many, many more.
As well as winning awards, McKenty has also sat on Innovation Juries at every key award show including Cannes, D&AD, Spikes, AWARD, and more.
In addition to her impressive resume, McKenty is a powerful advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and a founder of Rare with Google, an initiative that provides equitable opportunities for underrepresented creatives to thrive at every stage of their career.
Says McKenty: “BMF has an incredibly strong creative reputation, over the past 26-years it has been lauded for its consistent creative output, effective brand building, and high-profile behaviour change campaigns for some of Australia’s most loved brands. But it’s not just the agency’s strong creative reputation that excites me, it’s also the culture. Not only can they make world-famous campaigns for brands big and small, but they do it with humility and kindness.
“I have valued my time and learnt a lot working in tech, but I have missed agency life and the people our industry attracts. I am excited to be returning, it feels like a homecoming of sorts, and I can’t wait to start this next chapter of my career with my new BMF family!”
McKenty is set to join the award-winning creative agency in July.
In conjunction with McKenty’s appointment, BMF has made a series of internal creative promotions including the promotion of David Fraser to the role of joint-executive creative director.
Fraser joined BMF in 2014 and has been leading the globally awarded ALDI Australia and highly acclaimed Tourism Tasmania accounts for the past nine and four years respectively. In his new role, Fraser will work closely with McKenty and BMF’s chief creative officer Alex Derwin (above left) to lead both BMF’s creative department and creative output.
Alongside his creative partner Dantie Van Der Merwe, Fraser has helped ALDI win over 200 awards for both creativity and effectiveness, with the pair being pivotal to the continued success of ALDI Australia’s renowned ‘Good Different’ platform and helping ALDI to achieve the title of Australia’s Most Trusted Brand in 2018.
In addition to his work on ALDI Australia, Fraser has launched some of Tourism Tasmania’s most famous campaigns, including the Come Down for Air brand platform and most recently, The Off Season campaign.
Says Fraser: “BMF has always felt like home. It’s a caring family full of smart, talented, and ambitious people. And I’ve loved growing into a weird uncle here. To be asked to help build on the BMF legacy and take it to new places with Tara is a fantastic opportunity.”
While leading Tourism Tasmania’s creative output, Fraser has worked closely with associate creative directors Rees Steel (right) and Casey Schweikert (left), who have also been promoted to creative directors.
Says Derwin: “Tara has made an enviable amount of incredible work both in her time at Google, and at her previous agencies. The skillsets she brings, her knowledge of tech and culture, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her boundless creative energy makes her the perfect person to take BMFs output to the next level.
“Dave has been leading our two most creatively awarded accounts, he knows the agency inside out, and leads with compassion and intelligence. With Casey and Rees also taking a big, well-deserved step up, we’re well set up for the future.”
Says Stephen McArdle, CEO at BMF: “Tara is a truly rare talent. As one of the first brilliant creative minds to be lured into the world of big tech, she’s got enviable experience in both creatively led innovation and tech enabled CX. When you couple everything Tara’s learned at Google over the past 10-years with a creative agency that has momentum, belief, and ambition, great things are bound to happen.
“We’re also incredibly fortunate to have more than our fair share of world-class talent already in the BMF building. With Tara’s arrival, we’ve taken the opportunity to recognise and elevate some of that outstanding talent and set ourselves up for our next phase of creative exploration and growth.”