Starcom’s ‘Open Brief’ innovation product has Jack Daniel’s and Yahoo fizzing with excitement

Publicis media agency, Starcom is giving media partners and clients the opportunity to sign up for its new initiative, ‘Open Brief’, a product developed to help solve “live client business challenges”.

The new product was developed by Starcom’s Strategy and Experience Design (XD) team, with Jack Daniel’s the first of the agency’s clients to sign up to Open Brief, which culminated in a live ‘open pitch’ featuring Buzzfeed, Paramount, SBS, SCA and Yahoo vying to be the first to trial the product.

Open Brief winners, Yahoo’s Julia Edwards (left) & Giorgia Tavella (right)

Jack Daniels is seeking to use Open Brief to help drive a trial of its new RTD Seltzer, recently launched in the Australian market, with Yahoo the eventual winner in front of the client judges, agency staff and competitors, in what Starcom said was a ‘Shark Tank’-style event in Sydney.

The rationale for Yahoo’s win was that it delivered a “contemporary idea which was anchored in insights, and the behaviour of our core audience”, according to the panel. “It was unique and aligned with the bold future ambitions for Jack Daniel’s, and the human experiences we need to create for a next generation of drinkers. We were all blown away!”

National head of experience design at Starcom, Jo Scott said the agency has been working with media partners across each channel (represented across the breath of competitors) to “push the boundaries of what would otherwise be impossible with typical briefs”, in the search of innovative ideas.

Scott said, over the past six months, the agency has worked with media partners from every single channel to push the boundaries of what would otherwise be impossible with typical briefs, to create innovative ideas.

Jack Daniel’s’ Alejandra Alvarez (left) & Andrew Vaughan, Starcom (right)

Scott told Mumbrella: “What makes the Open Brief approach unique is we have flipped the traditional focus from an agency-led response, to a six-month collaborative process with media owners, ending in an open pitch to clients, all other media partners involved, and our agency.

“Throughout the process there is no cap to the number of ideas or tissue sessions with media partners. Our focus is on making sure the challenge is understood, and that we evolve the thinking and ideas together. So it’s a win for our media partners, and a win for us.

“The more collaborative way of working has led to the creation of bolder ideas. For clients, they will benefit from the breadth of innovation that can come from diverse media partners, with the six-month process allowing time for any partner, in any media channel to take part – regardless of size. This would not be possible in a typical briefing process with shorter deadlines.”

Senior brand manager for Jack Daniel’s RTD, Alejandra Alvarez said that the Open Brief process with Starcom was a “great experience”, helping the brand unlock some brilliant ideas from the five finalists.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved, and I look forward to bringing our exciting new campaign to life and growing our share in the ready-to-drink category with our latest product innovation.”

Zoe Cocker, head of brand and innovation at the winner, Yahoo ANZ, said: “The Open Brief process has enabled us to reconnect in person – something we have all missed, as well as enabling us to be more upstream with both agency and client.”

“By prioritising insights, the team at Starcom unlocked our true potential, allowing us to generate an idea that was big, brave and immersive, tapping into next-gen culture to bring Jack Daniel’s into the ‘Seltzaverse’. A huge thank you to the Starcom and Jack Daniel’s teams for trusting us with this exciting new chapter of consumer connection.”

Late last year, Starcom settled on its new national leadership structure, following the departure of Melbourne managing director, Stuart Jaffray in August. This included Sydney managing director, Nancy Lam appointed as national managing director.


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