Sunday, November 9, 2014

THE NILE BREWERIES PITCH: 10 Things I Think It Means To The Industry


  
Quick summary of the issues at hand

We all know it is coming. It was rumoured and whispered in hushed tones all of last and this year. Yeah, I’m talking about the break-up of the Nile Breweries stable of beer brands. Apparently word in the grapevine was that the stable has been on its way to breaking up for a long time but was held together for various reasons but the leadership at the breweries was steadfast in keeping all the 10 brands under 1 house. Since some recent shakeups at the Jinja-based brewery though that plan has been fast tracked.

So what would it mean for the industry? Here are 10 things that I think it means for the advertising industry:

1.       Moringa Ogilvy will NO LONGER be host to all the 12 NBL brands.

2.    The brands as broken up above have the high impact brands and the premium brands. The high impact brands (Club Pilsener and Nile Special) are the more preferred to stay at Moringa because they have more recognition and will most likely have higher budget allocations.

3.       The mass brands like Eagle and Chibuku won’t be in a hurry looking to move since almost no agency will want to take them by themselves. They only make economic sense once paired with other higher revenue brands.

4.       The Premium brands might be split individually between agencies i.e. Castle Milk Stout, Redds Vodka Lemon, Nile Gold and Castle Lager, Castle Lite, and each be handed to a different agency. Or all be distributed to one house to handle that portfolio.

5.       The pitch is made harder by the fact that no Uganda Breweries beer brand is handled creatively by any Ugandan agency.(Bell is in SA , Tusker lager is at BBDO Kenya, Senator is in Kenya, Guinness sits in the UK & SA, the Diageo Reserve category is with Owen Kessel in SA)  So EVERYBODY is coming to take a piece of the pie.

6.       Uganda Waragi (EABL’s premium Ugandan spirit) is handled at Metropolitan Republic Uganda. Whether this will preclude them from the pitch is definitely a question answers are wanted to.


7.       In terms of media investment, desire to achieve economies of scale and the continued bullishness of the Uganda Media Owners’ Association are going to continue driving consolidation and the search for savings. The same way EABL will be looking to consolidate all their buys and investment under the Dentsu Aegis Network affiliate Carat Media in Uganda. So this makes me think media buying and investment might go to one house as well.

8.       There are concerns about PR and digital for these brands since across the region margins are shrinking and costs are being cut, it will be important to find more effectiveness and target audience penetration; the things that PR and Digital deliver well on. Obviously there will be infinitely more PR & digital agencies than listed above so expect that to be a hot category.

For the level of investment, you'd think they could have done more.
9.       The experiential and events division will remain mostly the same – undifferentiated and not breathtaking. The thing is the experiential element does carry a lot of potential because it creates the take-outs that brands actually want consumers to have. Smell, taste, sight, eventually leading to recall. But innovation in the category has been little and uninspiring - largely because of a large cost of reach per individual and the nasty practice of brand managers taking half the budgets as kickbacks. Eventually leading to things like the “Club MegaFest” or rather "MegaFlop" and“in-bar activations” or rather  "in-bar ways to pay campus girls". Maybe a renewed focus will allow the brands to focus better on the goal in mind, and the agencies too.

10.   There is the thorny question of the talent that will get sacked because frankly the brands they were working are no longer there to be worked on. That’s all fine except the recent set up of J.Walter Thompson Uganda has already pilfered and pillaged the industry of any excess talent thereby making me think there will be space to absorb these people in the industry. Or maybe the newly acquiring agency will be generous enpugh to pick them up. There is of course the possibility that they won’t be let go, we don’t’ know!! But all things come to those who wait – or some Club copy writer once wrote.

There are obviously a lot of questions that need to be answered around the pitching etiquette in this town. Clients have to stop inviting everyone in town t pitches because its a waste of time and money. Someone with authority is even mooting the idea that clients should pay for agency to attend pitches - but they'll get round to it when they do.

In the end, we can only be prepared. May the best man win.

#GoBeABeast