VML has announced the appointment of Fran Luckin as Chief Creative Officer for South Africa. She will start in her new role on 1 February 2024. In October, VML was formed, uniting two of the most awarded creative agencies in the world: VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson. Fran’s appointment is the first South African leadership appointment to be announced, signalling VML’s intent to be a creative powerhouse in South Africa.
Fran is one of South Africa’s preeminent creative leaders. She studied Speech and Drama at university but was saved from a life spent as “Second Extra From the Left” by moving into advertising. In 2008, Fran became the Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy Johannesburg. Later that year, Ogilvy Johannesburg became the number 1 ranked South African agency at Cannes Lions. A year later, it was ranked the number 1 agency in Ogilvy Worldwide at Cannes Lions. In 2010, the company won South Africa's first Film Gold Lion in 11 years. After two years at Quirk South Africa, where the agency won its first Loerie awards and its first Cannes shortlist, Fran joined Grey in 2016. A year later, the agency won its first Gold Lion at Cannes. Fran helped move Grey to be number 3 in the South African Creative Rankings.
While winning awards is always a great recognition for an agency's hard work and passion, Fran derives the most joy from seeing people grow, and learn, and achieve things they might not have thought possible. In 2022, Fran was named Industry Leader of the Year at the Adfocus Awards. She has an MBA from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership and is a passionate advocate of lifelong learning.
Miles Murphy and Jarred Cinman (SA CEOs of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R, respectively) said: “Fran is an amazing combination of a world-class creative leader and also a person who cares deeply about all the people in the business who help create great work. VML will drive the next generation of creativity in South Africa, and Fran is the absolute right person to lead this change.”
On being appointed SA CCO, Fran added, “I’m super excited to lead VML’s creative team in South Africa. Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R have hugely complementary creative skill sets matched with brilliant talent. Together as VML, we’ll be unstoppable!”
Tebogo Skwambane, WPP’s Country Manager for South Africa, further commented, “Fran has had a tremendous impact on the creative success of WPP agencies over the years. This is the right leadership role for Fran, and it shows our commitment to creative transformation for our clients and our people.”
Global CCO Innovation and EMEA CCO for VML Bas Korsten said, “We couldn’t be happier to have Fran at the helm of the new VML. She’s such an accomplished, versatile, and talented creative leader who is highly respected in South Africa and well beyond. Next to being someone who really fits our open, creative culture. Fran coming on board is a testament to the big creative ambition that we have at VML. So, watch this space!”
VML unites two of the most awarded creative agencies in the world, each with world-class commerce, customer experience and marketing technology capabilities. VML will be equipped to support clients on creative brand growth strategy and transformation initiatives, all powered by best-in-class data operations, technology platforms and partnerships with leading technology companies. It will also provide an exceptional offer for healthcare companies and B2B marketers.