Colenso BBDO has long worked on Fonterra's major brands like Anchor, Tip Top, Fresh 'n Fruity and Mainland and it's gradually been adding new chunks of the business to its roster, with the most recent being the addition of some smaller brands after Shine shacked up with Goodman Fielder. Now it's added some more after the agency was appointed as the social media partner for all of Fonterra's brands after a competitive pitch.
It's thought the incumbent Fuse, which is part of OMD, and Young & Shand were involved in the pitch. Satellite is still in charge of digital builds, but it's thought Colenso BBDO, being Fonterra's overarching brand communications partner, will have some input into their look, feel and function. Fonterra also moved its media planning and buying duties from OMD to MediaCom early this year.
From 1 August 2014, Colenso BBDO will operate a single integrated account team responsible for strategy, creative and social media. And while the FMCG sector is pretty tough at the moment, with tight margins, discount-loving Kiwis and powerful supermarkets, Fonterra Brands New Zealand director of marketing, Craig Irwin hopes that creating more direct relationships with consumers will be of commercial benefit to the business.
Irwin is currently in Chile and was unable to be contacted, but in a statement he said: “In the era of the social brand, we need to continually find new and relevant ways to remain in touch with our consumers. We know that engaged fans of FMCG brands show a significantly higher spend, frequency of purchase and regularly recommend those brands with whom they have good experiences to their networks. We want to take advantage of that and create more opportunity for consumers to participate in experiences with our brands. We see social media very much as a brand channel and so it makes a lot of sense to align social media with the brand team at Colenso."
As Google's Giles Tuck said in a great presentation about social creativity a few months back, you can't just do social, you need to be social. The idea of "consumers joining the conversation" on social media has certainly lost some of its lustre in comparison to a few years ago as brands start to figure out that social networks are not charities and have a habit of changing algorithms to make more money, but there are plenty of examples of progressive companies and agencies using social creativity—and often using paid media as an invitation to establish a deeper relationship via social channels. In the past, brands often simply broadcasted messages about themselves, but Colenso BBDO’s group business director Richard Birkby says it's about trying to offer consumers more than just a functional product benefit.
The agency has done this very successfully with the V brand over the years, and it's doing it once again with the Give it a V campaign, which is crowd-sourcing ideas for things that need a bit of excitement added to them. Tip Top has also been experimenting with this approach, with the very successful Feel Tip Top national roadtrip and a Facebook campaign that eventually led to it bringing back the Strawberry Toppa. Now Irwin wants to embrace the strategy for some of its other brands.
"This is an exciting time for everyone working on Fonterra," says Birkby. “Craig’s vision is for Fonterra’s brands to be more deeply involved with their audiences and to be able to take advantage of the insights and data that this approach will enable. He’s keen to move from 'social media campaigns' to 'integrated campaigns for socially connected consumers' and we think that’s a really amazing brief. We’re looking forward to developing campaigns that will ensure brands like Anchor and Tip Top are some of the most talked about brands in the country as a result.”
Winning this part of the Fonterra Brands business is obviously good news for Colenso BBDO from a financial standpoint. And it's probably good from an ego point of view, too, because holding a few more of the cards means it will be easier for the agency to create the kind of socially-led work that seems to be getting noticed at the moment.
Now we wait patiently for a talking cow on Twitter.