Lion raises a toast to its new digital agency, Young & Shand

After a competitive pitch, Lion has decided to shift its digital business away from its agency of over seven years, Digital Arts Network, and hand it to Young & Shand, with its pitch partner Tailor taking care of .net web development. 

“This was one of the toughest pitch processes we’ve been through,” says managing director Duncan Shand. “The team at Lion really put us through our paces, so it’s a good feeling to come away with the business.”

DAN originally resigned the account because it was too much effort for too little reward compared to the big, grunty UX-led digital work it does for clients like Tourism New Zealand, ANZ, TVNZ and some Whybin\TBWA clients, but it then put its hand up again (Gladeye was also involved in the pitch but didn’t make it through to the final stages). It’s thought DAN’s decision was a wake-up call for Lion, which started thinking about whether it was using the right model and was paying fairly for the work. 

Young & Shand’s remit is to look after the digital marketing and digital production for all 28 Lion brands. And it will also be picking up social media management on a number of brands. 

While many of the lead creative and strategic agencies Lion works with have impressive digital credentials and have done digital work for the brands from time to time (for example, a recent Steinlager campaign #AllBlackSnap featured a website built by DDB), they were not allowed to pitch for the business. And by using one agency for all digital work, it’s thought Lion hopes to standardise platforms and CMS systems for site builds, as well as analytics and reporting. It also hopes to gain cost efficiencies. 

Given the difficulty in deciding where creative ends and digital begins in this day and age, and the fact that every creative agency worth its salt needs to think about communicating digitally, it’s fair to say this new arrangement could create some confusion—and tension. But Shand says Lion has done a good job of defining the process and he says its role is clear. 

“We’re at the table. But the creative agencies are responsible for coming up with the key brand ideas and then we will work with the agency to bring that idea to life in the digital world.” 

Lion can give the digital work to its other creative agency partners, but DDB (Steinlager, Speight’s, Lindauer, Corona and others), Shine (Beck’s and Mac’s), Special Group (Smirnoff), and King St (Waikato Draught) are unlikely to be be doing much of it. 

As a result of this win, Young & Shand has had to resign its Beam and Pernod Ricard accounts. 

“We feel incredibly excited and privileged to work with some of New Zealand’s favourite brands alongside New Zealand’s best agencies,” says Dan Phillips, group account manager.  

Craig Baldie, Lion’s marketing director, says the company knows it has to make a significant shift into new media and it is “excited about working with an agency that offers a full service digital approach and a business model that will enable us look at a whole new way of doing things for our brands”. 

Lion also works with ZO, Spur, Mango & The PR Shop. 

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