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Woolies appoints “Not the obvious choice”… Droga5

After what could prove to be the most significant pitch of the year, Woolworths has appointed Droga5 as its creative agency.

The agency replaces M&C Saatchi, Woolies’ agency of record for a decade.

The review was called in November, when Woolworths Supermarkets director Tjeerd Jegen admitted that the company’s marketing had been “inconsistent”.

At this point M&C Saatchi boss Tom Dery called the review “perfectly understandable”.

Jegen said in a statement: “The appointment of Droga5 may not have been the obvious choice but we have realised through this process that ‘the obvious’ is the last place Woolworths wants to be.”

The win will come as welcome news to Droga, which last week was hit by the loss of Carlton United Brewers brands VB, Crown Lager and Cascade.

The announcement in full:

Woolworths General Manager of Marketing, Lizzy Ryley said: “Droga5 is a highly innovative agency with a great reputation for strong creative ideas and strategic planning skills.  The team demonstrated a very thorough understanding of our brand and its unique position in the hearts and minds of Australian shoppers and we are confident of building a successful partnership.”

Creative Chairman of Droga5 Australia, David Nobay said: “As a brand, Woolworths touches close to 20 million consumers every single week, and employs over 111,000 Australians.  In that sense, it is a channel all of its own, and moves the conversation for an entire country. Being chosen to tell great stories around a brand that already shapes so much behaviour in this country is a genuine privilege.”

Tjeerd Jegen, Director of Woolworths supermarkets said: “The appointment of Droga5 may not have been the obvious choice but we have realised through this process that “the obvious” is the last place Woolworths wants to be. It was very important to me that we found a creative agency that demonstrated the right mix of creativity, innovation and who were a good cultural fit.”

M&C Saatchi have held the Woolworths account for ten years and will continue to work for the Woolworths  Limited group as creative agency for Masters Home Improvement. Ryley commented: “We sincerely thank the M&C team for a decade of service and wish them the very best for the future.”

Droga5 will commence work in the coming weeks following a transition period.  Their first brand campaign will launch sometime in the fourth quarter of this financial year.

Woolworths marketing has come in for heavy criticism in recent times, with even its own marketers hinting that rival Coles has been leading the category in the advertising stakes.

In December, Woolworths repurposed an advertising idea from its New Zealand subsidiary following the arrival of Elizabeth Ryley to run its supermarkets division, hinting that she was unhappy with its marketing output locally.

Woolworths was named Asia’s most powerful retail brand by Interbrand last month.

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