Hunter gets its hands on Charlie’s juicy brands

Charlie’s Group Ltd has appointed Hunter to look after its array of refreshing beverages, handing the Charlie’s and Phoenix Organics folios in Australia and New Zealand to the trans-Tasman indie “cloud agency”.

Ron Curteis, marketing and export manager for Charlie’s, says he wanted “an independent agency that could work in both markets simultaneously rather than appointing two separate agencies”. Charlie’s worked with Consortium a couple of years ago but Hunter’s Auckland-based creative director Matthew Gibbins says much of its work has been done by an in-house team more recently. As such, there was no pitch involved.

Gibbins says Charlie’s fits in well with the agency’s desire to work with entrepreneurs and challenger brands and the initial focus will be on launching Charlie’s into Melbourne, while maintaining the brands in New Zealand.

He says they toyed with the idea of giving Charlie’s an Australian personality, but, obviously, no-one likes an Australian personality, so the colloquial Kiwi approach and the cheeky, humble tone of voice used in New Zealand will be maintained. He believes this quintessential Antipodean brand, “an honest grafter” that was created by a few mates and fought against the big boys, will resonate well with Aussie consumers.

Gibbins has a stellar juice heritage, having previously worked across the successful Innocent drinks brand for five years in the UK, a company he says has a similar business perspective and brand personality to Charlie’s.

Charlie’s was started in 1999 by Stefan Lepionka, Marc Ellis and Simon Neal, starting off with natural, unprocessed orange juice and adding are new juices, smoothies, quenchers and water to stable.

Phoenix Organics started working with natural and organic ingredients pretty early on in 1986 and joined the Charlie’s Group in 2005. Today they have six product ranges – organic sugar and honey sweetened soft drinks, sparkling fruit juice drinks, mineral waters, juices and hot beverage concentrates (like Phoenix Chai).

Hunter has pegged itself as a creative agency with a digital heart and its philosophy is to offer clients a local presence but also tap into worldwide thinking and ideas. Partner Simon Hakim says digital technology has developed to such an extent that agency talent doesn’t have to be in the same office or country anymore because creative and strategy can be produced within the “agency cloud”, with communication kept up with the use of Skype, Twitter and Facebook.

“After all, why can’t a client in Norway or London benefit from brains in New Zealand or Australia and vice versa?” he says.

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