Lion pitches alcohol brands media account putting ZenithOptimedia on alert

Lion logoLion has called a review of its alcohol brands media account, placing incumbent ZenithOptimedia on alert Mumbrella understands.

With a media spend estimated by Nielsen to be worth more than $35-40m in 2012-13 the pitch is expected to be highly competitive. Optimedia picked up the account in 2005, and consolidated more brands in 2008.

“We are currently reviewing the media support for our business, which will include a pitch process over the coming months,” said Matt Tapper, national marketing director of Lion – beer, spirits & wine Australia.

“Over the past twelve years we have been fortunate to enjoy a rewarding relationship with ZenithOptimedia and for our teams to deliver some innovative and award-winning campaigns together,” he said.

“During this period our portfolio of great brands has also significantly expanded and diversified, and our operating environment has changed so we feel this review is timely.”

It understood the pitch being handled internally and is in its early stages, with the incumbent informed and a short list of other agencies being drawn up.

This is the latest in a series of defensive pitches for ZenithOptimedia, in the past two years, after the agency retained Reckitt Benckiser in December, but lost NAB and parts of the News Corp Australia account previously.

ZO has estimated billings of $747m (RECMA) and therefore the Lion account represents around five per cent of the agency’s billings.

Brands involved in the Lion account include Tooheys New, Hahn Super Dry, James Boag and Heineken.

It is the latest in a series of large spenders to put media up for pitch, with the Federal Government and Woolworths both currently out to tender.

Nic Christensen 

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Lion were also pitching its dairy brands.


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