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Mike Abel is recognised as one of South Africa’s leading advertising and communications leaders. He has co-led the largest communications group on the African continent, Ogilvy South Africa, he ran the giant M&C SAATCHI Group, Australia and most recently, in February 2010 founded M&C SAATCHI ABEL, which to date, is credited with arguably being the fastest growing advertising agency in the history of South Africa.
Mike has been in the advertising industry for over 23 years.
After studying marketing and advertising for 5 years, he set up a small below-the-line agency in Port Elizabeth (his home town) specialising in advertising on the rear windows of Black Taxis using contravision. This was back in 1988 when nobody else was doing it.
Unfortunately Mike was conscripted and whilst in the army, other firms took that space.
He started his formal career at The White House, DDB in Cape Town, South Africa. After a year at that agency he was sent to help start their Johannesburg company in 1991.
In 1993 Mike was headhunted by Ogilvy Cape to work on the highly coveted Volkswagen brand, which he ended up leading within 18 months. Under his leadership Mike was responsible for some of the most iconic and famous advertising in the country.
In 1998 Mike was asked to lecture the Ogilvy Worldwide CEO’s in Berlin on his integration model that he’d developed in leading the VW account. This model was regarded as the best-practice global case study for leading and developing Integrated Communications.
In 2001 he became the youngest Managing Director of Ogilvy Cape Group and based on his turnaround of this Group, was awarded Advertising Leader in South Africa in 2006, by the
. That same year Mike was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Ogilvy South Africa, spanning 12 separate operating companies.
In 2008 Mike moved to Australia with his wife and 3 sons to take up the position of CEO, M&C Saatchi Group, Australia.
Mid 2009, Maurice Saatchi and Moray MacLennan, Worldwide CEO M&C Saatchi, asked him to help establish the Agency on the African continent.
On 1 February 2010 together with close friends and highly talented colleagues he opened M&C SAATCHI ABEL.
Four years later they have an outstanding, blue-chip Client base, 190 talented staff across their two offices and in 2012 won
's “Breakthrough Agency in South Africa".
Mike was honoured to receive the “Advertising Achiever of the Year" – awarded by
’s Ad Review.
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