UM wins $54m Lion media account

By Rosie Baker

Lion has handed its $54 million media business to UM following a competitive pitch. 

It’s understood that Mindshare and OMD were also in the final round.

UM will drive all connection planning and investment for Lion’s leading beer brands, including XXXX GOLD, XXXX Summer Bright Lager, Tooheys, James Squire, Hahn Super Dry and James Boag’s Premium, its cider brand 5 Seeds and category campaign Beer the Beautiful Truth.

It’s the second time the alcohol firm has moved its account in recent years. Bohemia was appointed in 2014 and put on notice in early June – almost two years to the day after winning the business. The agency decided not to pitch for the business in mutual agreement with the client.

The move is a blow for Bohemia which also lost Vodafone earlier this week. Vodafone opted for GroupM as it looks to align the Australian business with its global structure which operates Team Red, a bespoke media unit led by GroupM. 

Marketing director at Lion Australia, Ben Slocombe, said: “We had the opportunity to see some fantastic thinking from a number of leading media agencies at various stages throughout our review process. We are excited to announce a partnership with UM, who have demonstrated strong leadership, a passionate understanding of our business, creative strategic thinking and implementation rigour.

“We really look forward to working with the team to bring some fantastic campaigns to market and create growth for the beer category and Lion brands”.

IPG Mediabrands’ UM has had a number of high profile account wins this year. In January it picked up Optus and Virgin Mobile, followed by Tourism Australia in May. It did however lose Coles, its largest account and one it had held for 13 years, to rival OMD. 

CEO of UM Ross Raeburn said: “Working with Lion has been something that we have wanted to do for a long time. Their desire to place the consumer at the heart and develop effective connections across owned, earned, shared and paid media obviously reflects UM’s belief in the power of creative connections. We can’t wait to start collaborating with Lion and their partners.”

In August last year Lion restructured its marketing team splitting the top marketing role formerly held by Matt Tapper into three roles.

The role was been split into three areas; brand and innovation, category and planning, and craft and cider.