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About Mike Abel


Mike Abel: Chief Executive Partner and co-founder of M&C SAATCHI ABEL, South Africa.

Welcome to my blog: I hope you enjoy the articles and observations. Please feel free to comment and share thoughts and ideas.

About me:

I have been in the advertising industry for over 23 years. After studying marketing and advertising for 5 years, I set up a small agency in Port Elizabeth (my home town) specializing in advertising on the rear windows of taxis using contravision. This was in 1988 when nobody else was doing it! Unfortunately I was conscripted and whilst in the army, other firms took that space.

I started my formal career at The White House, DDB in Cape Town, South Africa. After a year at the agency I was sent to help start their Johannesburg agency in 1991. In 1993 I was headhunted by Ogilvy Cape to work on the highly coveted Volkswagen brand which I ended up leading within 18 months.

In 2001 I became Managing Director of Ogilvy Cape Group (Ogilvy, Ogilvy One and Ogilvy Interactive) – and implemented a new, fully-integrated model. Based on the very successful turnaround of these combined agencies, I was awarded Advertising Leader in South Africa in 2006, by the Financial Mail. That same year I was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Ogilvy South Africa, the largest communications and advertising agency group on the African continent.

In 2008 I moved to Australia with my wife and 3 sons to take up the position of CEO, M&C Saatchi, Australia one of the most recognized, awarded and established agencies in the AsiaPac region. It was during the heart of the global financial crisis (GFC). Given my successful navigation and actual growth of the company during these trying times, in 2009 Moray MacLennan, Worldwide CEO M&C Saatchi, asked me to help establish the Agency on the African continent. I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity and adventure.

On 1 February 2010 together with my close friends and highly talented colleagues we opened M&C SAATCHI ABEL.
Four years later we now have a truly outstanding base of blue-chip Clients and 185 top-class people across our Johannesburg and Cape Town offices and are well within of the Top 10 largest agencies in South Africa.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. B Luckin permalink
    March 7, 2010 4:21 am

    Well done Mike – big move. Good luck!

  2. Grant Renecle permalink
    February 4, 2011 10:53 pm

    Hi Mike

    I Just wanted to say thank you for the presentation you presented at Red & Yellow on tuesday. I really enjoyed it and as a first year student getting into the industry, I found it very motivating. Best of luck!

  3. bryan cawood permalink
    February 9, 2011 4:32 am

    Hey Mike

    Was sent a link to your blog by a colleague. Enjoyed reading your posts. It’s been a while since The White House! Things seem to be going really well for you. Good luck with the agency!

    Bryan Cawood

  4. andrew makin permalink
    July 17, 2012 4:41 am

    Hey Mike, just visited your website and red an article on your blog, inspirational as always!
    And well done on all new business.
    Tell my old friend Mr Ray that I miss the tennis matches!


    Andrew Makin

  5. Derek Craig permalink
    August 30, 2013 3:40 am

    Hey Mike,
    Stellar creds, keep doing it, keep growing and have fun. All the best.
    Derek Craig

  6. January 15, 2015 10:59 am

    I’ve got half of my foot in Advertising, and I find the industry scary, yet extremely exciting and aspiring.
    Thank you for this blog. I’ll keep coming back over and over.

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