New Zealand’s largest life assurance company Sovereign, which is part of the ASB group of companies, has appointed JWT as its creative agency and has extended its commercial partnership with the Dentsu Aegis Network for other comms purposes, including media, PR and social.
Creatively, there was no incumbent account holder, but in 2011 Sovereign worked with Whybin\TBWA on the 'Choose Life. Choose Sovereign' campaign and previously also commissioned Designworks to develop its branding.
On the comms side, Sovereign has been working with Dentsu Aegis-owned Carat for media strategy, planning and buying, but this commercial partnership is now being extended to the wider Dentsu Aegis group to include iProspect, Isobar and Haystac.
While there are changes in creative and comms, Sovereign is opting for consistency elsewhere by keeping Chemistry Interaction on direct and loyalty marketing, Tenfold on collateral design and Touchcast on digital build and user experience.
The assurance company's head of brand Ben Rose says that the appointment of JWT did not come after a traditional pitching process, but rather after a consultation process that involved several interested parties.
"We spoke to a number of potential agencies and their clients," he says. "We knew what was important to us in terms of working with a creative partner, and it was on this basis that we created a shortlist and ultimately made our decision. Really, we felt JWT is the right sized agency, the team has the right skill set and they are culturally a great fit."
He explains that following this alternative process was beneficial to both Sovereign and the agencies involved, on account of the fact that “pitching is expensive for agencies, time consuming for the client and doesn’t really tell you what it’s like to work with an agency day to day.”
He says that the decision to appoint a new creative agency at this point is attributable to changing consumer needs.
“We’re changing how we work as a business to meet the changing expectations and needs of New Zealanders and these changes need to be reflected in the conversations we have. Building an outstanding team of marketing partners is key to changing this conversation."
All these changes will take effect immediately, but Rose says that it is still unclear what the scope of JWT's creative responsibilities will be.
According to Nielsen's rate card data, Sovereign spent $852,000 on advertising between June 2013 and June 2014.