Customer Engagement Agency of the Year 2014: Lida

It's a second award in a row for the agency after clever work for Land Rover and Virgin Holidays, 11 new-business wins and contributing half of M&C Saatchi Group's UK growth this year.

  • Land Rover

    Land Rover

  • Ikea

    Ikea

  • Tourettes Action

    Tourettes Action

  • Virgin Holidays

    Virgin Holidays

  • Heath

    Heath

  • Bullard

    Bullard

of

Lida finally made its debut as the winner of this category last year, having been the runner-up for the previous two years. So what better way to celebrate this milestone than to do it all over again?

While 2013 took the agency to new heights, Lida proved it could raise the bar even higher by not only retaining all of its accounts but also winning 11 major new pieces of business. These included Peroni Nastro Azzurro and the Alzheimer’s Society. It also won John Lewis Financial Services, for which it beat the incumbent, Partners Andrews Aldridge, as well as AIS London and The Communications Agency.

Lida also extended its relationship with Land Rover, capturing the brand’s £14 million retail business and, in November, won Oxfam’s digital and direct account, beating Rapp and Atomic London.

The boost in new business meant that the M&C Saatchi-owned agency accrued more than £25 million in billings for the year, increasing its revenue by 27 per cent and profit by 18 per cent. Lida was also credited for half of M&C Saatchi Group’s growth in the UK in 2014. While Lida’s financial and new-business record for the year did a great deal to secure its place in the top spot, what really set it apart from its competitors was the innovation evident in its work.

For Land Rover, it created a campaign for the car marque’s Discovery Sport model (which launches in February 2015) that aimed to capitalise on the key Christmas and new year sales period. However, the brief carried the additional challenge of there not being any models of the vehicle ready for customers to view. Lida’s solution was an augmented-reality app that used Durovis Dive technology to create a 3D hologram of the vehicle that could be shown in Land Rover dealerships, allowing potential customers to view and interact with the car ahead of the release date.

Another use of technology was an e-mail campaign for Virgin Holidays around Valentine’s Day – the e-mails wolf-whistled when opened. As well as being a clever piece of innovation, it also resulted in a 52 per cent increase in click-through rates.

There was other clever tactical work too. In March, Lida launched a campaign for Virgin Holidays on the day that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act legalising gay marriage came into force. The social media activity included a competition offering same-sex couples an all-expenses-paid honeymoon. Sir Richard Branson Tweeted his support and sent a telegram to the winners, Dino and Matt. The agency also got an invitation to their wedding, one of the first gay marriages in Britain.

Proving its penchant for humour, Lida, alongside M&C Saatchi, created a tongue-in-cheek campaign for the same brand off the back of a Three ad that apologised for its customers’ annoying holiday pictures. The poster encouraged people to brag about their trips away with pride, telling holidaymakers not to feel bad about bombarding their friends with snaps via text and on social media. It then placed the ads next to the Three execution.

On the management side, there were plenty of hirings and promotions. While Alan Mackie, the art director behind some of the Virgin Holidays work, was despatched to Sydney in June to help run Lida’s first Australian office, joiners included Richard Pentin from TMW as a strategy partner and the multi-awarded Sven Kaifel as the head of design.

Lida’s managing director, Victoria Fox, was rewarded for her hard work and promoted to chief executive in May, paving the way for the managing partner, Jonathan Goodman, to take over her role. Alongside the M&C Saatchi group chief executive, Lisa Thomas, the chairman and chief strategy officer, Matthew Heath, and the executive creative director, Nicky Bullard, they lead an agency that isn’t afraid to have some fun with its weekly "wheel of fortune" prize competition and "thirsty Thursday" staff evenings out.

Bullard’s strong creative direction enabled the agency to walk away with three golds at the Brand Republic Digital Awards for Virgin Holidays, Ikea and Tourettes Action. The Tourettes Action campaign, which launched in 2013, won three bronze awards at this year’s DMA Awards.

Engaging customers in an ever-expanding, content-heavy digital world is a huge challenge for agencies and brands. But Lida is proof that mixing hard graft, a heavy sprinkling of innovative creative spirit and a pinch of fun is the best recipe for a hot customer relationship agency.

Recent winners: Lida (2013); OgilvyOne (2012); OgilvyOne (2011); OgilvyOne (2010); Partners Andrews Aldridge (2009)

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