Small independent creative agency ProCreation has won the Super Liquor business in a competitive five-way pitch, beating out rumoured contenders including the incumbent .99, Running with Scissors/Tangible Media and Social Fabric.
UPDATE: This story originally said DDB pulled out of the pitch, but it was invited to pitch and declined to take part.
ProCreation creative director and owner Elwyn Pugsley, who was the creative head and joint owner of Mercato Advertising for 12 years, says Super Liquor will be the agency's biggest client and he admits his agency was something of a long shot.
"It's an important win, which we will certainly be celebrating. I guess it should be at a BYO," he says.
The task was a full strategic and creative proposal for the future of Super Liquor's brand and recommendations will be implemented over the next 18 months. The work encompasses all communications, including a makeover of the master brand, the way the stores are presented and how it manifests on TV, in the press and online.
"Super Liquor is well placed to up the ante," Pugsley says. "The business is thriving and the franchise network is in good shape. The next step is to cement a clear position for the brand. The aim is to be ‘the most meaningful alcohol retail brand in New Zealand’ with a set of values and an offer that’s more than just this week’s specials. Advertising for any kind of alcohol is increasingly difficult. The more restrictions tighten across the entire category, the more important the brand itself becomes."
ProCreation joins MediaCo, which also works directly with Super Liquor’s master-franchise group.
The agency (the name certainly makes for an interesting Google search) does a number of one-off projects but counts Gerard, Unicef, Robinhood, Carter Holt Harvey wood products and Morton Estate Wines among its clients.
Pugsley says ProCreation has been in its current guise for around five years and currently employs four people, with a host of contractors called in when required. But as a result of the win, he says it is looking to hire some more staff, including a new account manager.
Bottle stores have been dealing with increased competition from the supermarkets for years now and it's tough going. Many consumers buy their weekly grog at the supermarket and might pick up a bottle from a bottle store on their way somewhere. Pugsley says there is a stigma attached to bottle stores, almost as if they're seen as the dairies of the booze world, so one of the goals is to make Super Liquor slightly more up market and rise up above its other francise competitors Liquorland and Liquor King.
In keeping with this goal, Super Liquor recently launched its Craftology sub-brand in an effort to tap into the growing craft beer—and brewing—market.