London Essence

Britvic is no stranger to pitching. Last year, it ran two pitches for Robinsons and a trio of its adult drinks brands that Saatchi & Saatchi and VCCP were awarded respectively.

But this year the company had a different challenge. It wanted to find an agency to work on its WiseHead Productions brands, a new range of products aimed at adults that include mixers The London Essence Company, sparkling drink Thomas & Evans No 1 and Monte Rosso, an Italian aperitivo-style soft drink.

Jonathan Gatward, global category and capability director at Britvic and co-founder of WiseHead Productions, recognised that pitching for this business required a different way of thinking because of the size of the brands and the market Britvic was trying to position them in.

“The brands we are working on don’t work to the same kind of FMCG marketing model, it’s a much higher-touch consumer model, more premium. First, we wanted to work with someone who was very experienced in that field,” he explains to Marketing Week.

“Secondly, the brands are at the beginning of their journey, so we were also very cognisant that we wanted to work with a partner where we would be important enough to them.”

He adds: “I didn’t want to needlessly get anybody spending money on our behalf. And I didn’t want to get to a place where we had a load of creative work on the table that may or may not see the light of day. It was important to us that as we developed creative it absolutely was something we wanted to work as a real-world project with the aim of getting it out there.”

The initial pitch, which was run by Creativebrief, was for work on London Essence, which Britvic wanted to launch in a way that felt different to the market. To do that, it trialled a new format that saw WiseHead Productions test a ‘try before you buy’ model where after an initial chemistry/strategy meeting it worked with one agency on a four-week trial basis.

I feel quite proud that one, if not another two, agencies didn’t incur costs on our behalf that their clients ultimately have to bear. That’s my Christmas gift.

Jonathan Gatward, HeadWise Productions

While four agencies went through the process, Leagus was taken through to the trial portion. The two companies then agreed a fee to cover costs and an amount that would be paid if at the end of the four weeks WiseHead got the output it wanted – work they could run in market that hit the brief and addressed the strategic challenge.

“We put something on the table and they put something on the table,” says Fergus Hay, CEO at Leagas Delaney. “That felt equitable. And that was quite easily agreed between us.”

Both parties worked on the understanding they could end the relationship after the…