StopPress understands that Warehouse Stationery has taken some production work previously done by 99 in-house.
Paul Manning, managing director at 99, confirmed the information to be accurate but emphasised that Warehouse Stationery remains an important client for the agency (The Warehouse Group has not responded to a request for comment).
He says this shift of production only involves mailers and catalogues and does not include any of the strategic or television work the agency has been developing for the company.
An industry source says the red side of The Warehouse Group has produced and printed its own mailers for a number of years, while the blue side has until now outsourced to its agency partners. However, with these two sides of the business said to be moving closer together internally, it’s understood that the processes are now going to be unified across the business.
Manning says he isn’t surprised by the client’s decision at all, given the changes taking place across the industry.
He says that commoditisation continues to affect production-based services across the industry. In the long-term, it’s not sustainable for a modern agency to focus in this area. Clients will continue to invest in their own production facilities and look to reduce over costs of services, he says.
This, explains Manning, is part of the reason why 99 has invested heavily in shifting its focus to strategy, customer experience, data and digital on account of these being the areas where an agency now adds value to a clients’ businesses.
Asked for the number of jobs impacted by the change, Manning responded that there are four roles affected.
He would not be drawn into commenting on whether there were likely to be any redundancies due to the change.
In other news, the Spark communications team confirmed that the Spark business brand, which includes Spark Digital, moved to Shine.
The Spark Digital account has been with 99 since October last year when the agency won the business after a competitive pitch.
StopPress understands that Spark made an internal decision to move its B2B work to Shine while leaving the Clemenger Group (99 and Colenso BBDO) to focus on the B2C aspect.
Manning says there were no roles affected at the agency on account of the Spark Digital business shifting. He says the scale of the agency’s role with Spark is largely unchanged, with the focus on B2C and retail experience.
The agency currently employs over 130 people at its Grey Lynn headquarters.