Lemonade Design has won a competitive pitch to overhaul the Eden Park brand and rebuild its website, with both projects due for completion before the new stand is opened in the next few months. But there appears to be bit of confusion in the Eden Park ranks as to whether or not the cat should have been let out of the bag so early.
When Eden Park Trust Board's marketing and communications manager Lisa Power was spoken to, she seemed surprised that Lemonade had already spoken out about its win because it hadn't been officially signed off yet.
"At this stage [Lemonade's appointment] is still going through the board for approval, so until that's done, we'd want to keep our hats on. Our board hasn't even seen it yet."
But despite her surprise, she admitted that approval is "a formality". Even so, she wasn't able to talk about the brief or the other agencies involved in the pitch until she had the all clear from on high.
Because of the interest in the stadium's redevelopment, Power says the board has made a strategic decision to keep away from the media until their ducks are in a row in an attempt to avoid any journalistic pre-judgements. And when everything is ready, the gates will be opened on the new stand and the new brand will also be launched. But considering it's such a well-managed process, the fact that Power was unaware of the announcement seems slightly surprising.
Tony Reardon, Lemonade's business manager, is heading up the account and he says he was given the go ahead to announce the new business from Eden Park's general manager of sales and marketing Tracy Morgan. And, aside from this "wrong-footing", he says the agency, which already counts Burger Fuel, Jucy Rentals, Panasonic, Whitcoulls, and 3M as clients, is very honoured to get the opportunity to work on one of the "jewels in Auckland's crown".
He couldn't say too much about the Eden Park brand's new direction yet, but he believes it is well-overdue for a spruce up. In fact, he says it's a classic example of a brand that has evolved without any clear or cohesive direction, with a range of different additions being made to it over the years.
"How should I put this politely? While Eden Park is a world-wide name, the brand hasn't been catered to in a design sense. So it's great that there's a push to to manage their brand in a more strategic way ... It was definitely in need of some brand management."
Logo-lovers/critiquers can rejoice, for there will be a new one and he says the new branding will "go everywhere" and flow across every touchpoint, from catering to security to gatekeepers. There will also be a very big call to action included in the branding, which is "a big development and a change of direction" and "some very innovative approaches in the online offering". The branding will also aim to show that Eden Park is a stadium and events centre, not just a cricket or rugby ground.
Eden Park, which is a charitable trust, is a fairly polarising place. Some love it, while others feel as though it's an expensive, poorly positioned anachronism. But it is of great public interest and, like the Telecom rebrand of last year, Reardon is well aware Lemonade will likely be in the middle of what is usually a fairly heated political issue. Not only that, but because of the public interest in the redevelopment, its work on the brand will inevitably come under the spotlight when it is released into the wild.
"We're not concerned about [the public's attitude to Eden Park]. We're mindful of it . . . There's just as much negativity as positivity. But come a rugby game, it's hallowed ground. It's the traditional home of the All Blacks. So we're going to be treating the brand with extreme care."