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The Dunedin-based creative director and owner of brand development and design company BrandAid successfully pitched for the work following the acquisition of the two companies by The Warehouse Group.
Mr Johnston (36) was excited about the project, which would involve working with ''some pretty talented people'' both in Dunedin - such as the likes of creative director Paul Hankinson, who has previously worked in agencies in Sydney and Auckland - and throughout the country.
Born and bred in Dunedin, Mr Johnston studied design at the University of Otago and then worked for Taylormade Media for four years, the last two as creative director.
He started BrandAid 10 years ago, doing work for clients mostly in Dunedin but also throughout New Zealand.
The work was varied and clients included an aircraft manufacturer, iD Dunedin Fashion Week, Escea and also the Dunedin branding.
His agency's approach was to collaborate ''with lots of other people'' and he had avoided the traditional approach, saying the team was customised for specific clients to ensure the right skills and experience for their requirements.
The huge diversity of clients was what made the job interesting and there was always a new challenge, which was exciting, he said.
Mr Johnston had many opportunities to move north and work for bigger agencies but he refused to do so. He was even approached several years ago by a large agency wanting to buy BrandAid out, but turned that down also. He enjoyed the Otago lifestyle and his work-life balance.
His intention was never to create a big advertising agency - ''that's not what motivates me''. Rather, it was ''just about doing really good work'', he said.