Initiative Australia has announced it has been awarded Pizza Hut Australia’s national media planning and buying account after a competitive agency review, as well as unveiling a major repositioning of the business.
Several media agencies competed in the final round of the review, before Initiative emerged as the winner.
Justin Olivares, director of marketing at Pizza Hut, said: “After a highly competitive pitch process, we are excited to have Initiative join our team and fill the last piece of our new agency structure.
“We are very impressed with the team that they have assembled and the strategies presented to help us in our plans to bring Pizza Hut back.”
Initiative Australia CEO Melissa Fein said the agency drew on aspects of its new Australian market positioning to develop strategy and implementation proposals for Pizza Hut.
“We are proud to be partnering with Pizza Hut as they rebuild their fortunes in Australia,” she said.
“Obviously, we will be working in a highly competitive category and we are fully confident that we will deliver unique media solutions to Pizza Hut to help drive their business.”
Initiative will present its new positioning to selected external audiences this week.
The win is the first for Initiative since announcing a repositioning of the business to become a “cultural branding agency” at a media briefing in Sydney yesterday.
Danny Bass, CEO of IPG Mediabrands Australia, said the new business model sees Initiative being brought front and centre for clients and media partners.
“We’ve got lots of other brands under the Mediabrands umbrella. Those brands will still be there, but it’s fair to say our model may have been confusing, and that could be confusing for our media partners in terms of who you go to within the building,” he said.
“We don’t want that. We want to make sure that working with Initiative or UM is seamless.
“From a client perspective, we want to make sure that if Initiative is brought on or is the agency of record, then it’s one business card – one team who they see. Now, that’s not to say that those other brands [like Society, Cadreon and Ansible] are disappearing, but there will be more back of house than front and centre,
“At all times, the primary relationship is now with Initiative, and the Initiative `guys have the authority, the approval and the opportunity to bring in specialists as an when they see fit.”
The repositiong sees Initiative’s agency house divided into four parts – client advice and management, strategy, communication design and partnerships.
The new divisions will be underpinned by customer insights and analytics, made up of two “cogs” – people (cultural analytics) and performance “growth analytics).
Initiative’s head of strategy, Tristan Burrell, said the agency will have a three-dimensional approach to cultural branding: attach, create and respond.
“We’re a culturally-focused media agency. We’re still a media agency, we still believe in advertising, but we feel like it has a bigger job to do than it used to.
“The epidemic of short-termism in the industry – we tend to gravitate towards what’s tangible, and data’s great, but sometimes we use it just for immediate means and we’re kind of just chasing that next campaign, that next quarterly sales goal often at the expense of brands. So, we want to flip that around – make sure we meet [clients’] short-term goals, but always have an eye on brand health and how brands are going to grow long-term and be sustainable.
“The challenge is that today you can avoid advertising, but there’s one big thing that’s unavoidable, and that is culture.”
Fein said the agency was “blessed” to have inherited the new business model from Initiative’s global CEO, Mat Baxter.
“We’re a much more connected agency group than we ever have been. It’s been quite disjointed,” she said.
“For us to be working on a client where they want insights into what the US is doing, what’s coming out of upfronts week this week, it’s such an instant call into Mat and the team there because of his access obviously back to Australia. We feel like we’re a really strong, globally-aligned agency now.”
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