When we last spoke with indie agency Zephyr at the start of the year, they had just won three new pieces of business. Now the three sausage-loving partners—Robert Coulter, Warwick Delmonte and Quentin Pfiszter—may be cooking up a few more celebratory bangers after winning Lion’s McKenna bourbon account in a pitch involving Special Group and BCG2.
The incumbent was DDB, but it wasn’t involved in the pitch, seemingly because Lion saw McKenna as a challenger brand and wanted to align itself with more of a challenger agency.
Coulter says it came down to a shootout between themselves and Special Group, which already has Lion’s suite of Diageo spirit brands, so it was nice to beat the darlings of the local ad scene to the punch. Still, given the recent success of Zephyr, they could almost be labelled the more mature darlings—or as Coulter says, “the George Clooneys”—of the ad world.
There’s plenty of history between the three main Zephyr brains and Lion, with Coulter working at Saatchi’s during Steinlager’s ‘they’re drinking our beer here’ days and the other two working with Lion while at Colenso. And with a massive stable of beers, wines and spirits, Coulter hopes getting their foot in the door with McKenna might lead to some more work.
“I’d like to think if we did well on something then they might give us a crack on something else,” he says. “It’s nice to pick up a good brand rather than more of the bread and butter and it’s good stuff because you can see the results of your work so quickly. People drink with their eyes so brands can go from being non-fashionable to fashionable very quickly, unlike, say, toothpaste, which takes much longer to change.”
This win adds to Frucor’s Arano, Otago University, Turners Auctions, Cottonsofts, Nosh and the Contact Triathlon, as well as its recent wins Simply Squeezed, Lighting Plus and Skinfood. Ironically enough, however, it can’t seem to get hold of a sausage client.
McKenna’s most recent campaign was highly visible, both to consumers and those in the biz, because it used APN’s new billboard technology and incorporated some flashing lights into the creative.