Decoupling the creative process: Suncorp shifting all creative production to Hogarth

The Suncorp Group is moving all of its creative production into a centralised hub within WPP content agency, Hogarth, chief marketing officer, Mim Haysom has confirmed to Mumbrella.

Haysom said the way in which Suncorp produces and takes its assets to market has been “under review”, in order to build capacity and create efficiency across the brand.

Suncorp is pushing all of its creative work into a centralised hub

This includes all of Suncorp Bank and Suncorp Insurance brands, which includes GIO, AAMI, Apia, Shannons, Vero, Bingle, Terri Scheer, Essentials by AAI, and Caravan and RV Insurance.

“We’ve got nine brands in the portfolio and two tier-one agencies, plus Frank Moore for our niche brands,” said Haysom.

The “tier one” agencies in reference are Ogilvy and Leo Burnett. They will both remain on Suncorp’s roster as creative partners on creative ideation and strategy.

“We need to continually look at how we build capability, how we centralise to enable us to manage the portfolio more efficiently, and moving towards a centralised production hub does all those things for us. It enables us to be more agile, data-driven, and flexible in our approach.”

Suncorp CMO, Mim Haysom

Haysom confirmed that Suncorp “is moving in that direction” but that it is “very happy” with its creative agency partners. She also confirmed Suncorp is already working with Hogarth as it continues to develop the model.

“This is a transformation move to build capability and better manage the portfolio, efficiency and effectiveness.”

The process of transitioning its production model and building a centralised production hub with Hogarth “takes time” Haysom said, “but we are in a transition phase and we’re building the model at the moment.”

Suncorp released a new brand platform regarding its commitment to creativity last week, via independent agency The Hallway, with Leo Burnett managing creative production on the campaign.

“We will continue to work with Leo Burnett”, said Haysom, also confirming the agency will continue to be one of its “key creative partners”, and partner with Hogarth to execute on production once the hub is ready.

“It is not in place yet. We haven’t got all of our brands pumping through a production studio with Hogarth yet. We’re still building that at the moment.”

“That is why Leo’s does all the production et cetera for the bank in its existing contract. And that will be shifting when we’ve built our centralised production hub, but just the production side of things.”

“So that is how it played out at this point in time [referring to last week’s campaign], because we weren’t ready. The production hub is not ready to pump work through yet.”

Suncorp released a new brand campaign last week

Suncorp moved the creative account for GIO across from Leo Burnett to Ogilvy as recently as August last year. 

Health care fund NIB also appointed Slik as its new creative production partner last week, shortly after appointing BWM Isobar as its new creative agency also last week. This suggests an increasing trend of moving costs and capabilities away from creative agencies and into content specialists.

On the move, Justin Ricketts, CEO of Hogarth Australia, said that the company is “thrilled and honoured” to have the opportunity to work with “one of Australia’s strongest portfolio of brands and alongside Mim and her amazingly talented team”.

“This opportunity is right in our sweet spot. We can’t wait to partner with Suncorp’s existing partner agencies, including our partners at Ogilvy, to help Suncorp to achieve their ambition and remain on the cutting edge of their content needs.”

Ogilvy’s Melbourne managing director, Gavin MacMillan added: “Hogarth are our partners. We love their work. This is exactly the right move for an addressable future that is rapidly becoming a reality. We’re looking forward to combining with Justin and the team to help take our work on Suncorp’s brands to new heights.”

Finally, CEO of Leo Burnett Australia, Emma Montgomery told Mumbrella: “Our multi-year, multi-brand creative partnership with Suncorp is one of great pride and big ambition for us and our collective teams. We welcome Hogarth into the village we already share with our media partners OMD, and look forward to continuing the momentum together.”

Questions regarding the move have arisen within the industry regarding how creativity is increasingly valued, and where creative control within campaign work now lies.

An industry executive, who wished to stay anonymous said this is “dangerous behaviour from clients”.

Another executive posed whether it is a “cost-cutting exercise”, and that it is “another example of the subservient relationship between clients and agencies”.

Haysom also confirmed that there are no changes to the nature of its work with its media agency, OMD.

How do you think creativity is now valued in the advertising industry? And what might this increasing trend spell for creative agencies? Mumbrella encourages discussion in the comments section below.


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