How DDB Lagos clinched Diageo’s spirits portfolio

Facts have emerged on how full-service marketing communication agency, DDB Lagos, emerged winners of the Diageo Nigeria Plc’s Spirits portfolio, which includes Baileys, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, McDowells and Gordons brands.

A source, privy to the pitch process, stated  that the pitch which held on Friday, 26 February, on the invitation of the procurement unit of Diageo Nigeria Plc, included a de-brief/clarification session, held at the Guinness Ikeja Office with all the invited agencies – DDB, Noah’s Ark (which eventually pulled out), STB McCann and LTC/JWT.

The session, according to the source, afforded the various agencies an opportunity to clarify grey portions of the briefs which were for Johnnie Walker and McDowell’s respectively.

A team of young people led by the Business Development and Creative Directors respectively coordinated the ideation, strategy development and planning stages of the pitch process, which was eventually uploaded on the Guinness e-sourcing online platform on Thursday, 25 February, 2016, ahead of the presentation date, scheduled for the next day.

Few weeks after the presentation, held at their offices with brand managers of the different brands in attendance and which also saw the agencies fielding questions from the Diageo team, DDB Lagos was shortlisted for the second stage of the process which involved a visit to the agency, on Tuesday, 22 March, 2016.

The session, the source explained, helped the Diageo team familiarise themselves with DDB Lagos, its modus operandi, values, team and facility.

“It also served as an opportunity for further clarifications on the remuneration proposal amongst other things and was a good meeting for both parties,” the source stated.

At the conclusion of further negotiations on the remuneration proposal, in the weeks that followed, DDB Lagos was formally appointed.

Giving a toast to the win, the agency’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ikechi Odigbo, described the development as a “testament of the hard work of the team.

“We are structured more like a medium-sized agency handling billings of a large agency. Being able to divert resources to pitch from existing accounts is a big challenge but we have stuck to our policy of having the highest billing ratio per executive because we want to be sure that whoever is working within DDB Lagos is outstanding.”

“We are not just bringing in bodies, bringing in numbers and at the end of the day diluting the quality. We are very happy with our new client and the entire credit goes to the team who worked directly on the pitch,” he stated.

Speaking on one of the fundamental elements of DDB’s success, Director of Business Development of DDB Lagos, Tunde Dosekun, stated that experiences garnered by the agency while working with big brands had been one of the secrets behind the successes of the agency.

“When you have the benefit of working for brands like MTN, Unilever, Interswitch and a host of other clients that we have had, I think it is almost only inevitable that you will achieve success because these are leading brands in their respective categories.

“The objective at DDB Lagos has never been to win awards but to help clients’ product and services to gain superior market share in the marketplace and to achieve their marketing objectives, whatever they may be,” he stated.