Juicy goss: Ribena starts search for a new advertising agency

Brand seeks agency with 'passion for sustainability' to succeed Wunderman Thompson, which resigned the account.

Ribena: 2019 campaign spoofed artisan brands
Ribena: 2019 campaign spoofed artisan brands

Ribena is on the hunt for a new advertising agency as it looks to continue its sustainability push. 

The drinks brand, owned by Suntory Beverage and Food, has kicked off a formal process for its UK and Ireland above-the-line account.  

The business was previously held by Wunderman Thompson, which recently resigned the account. 

“After careful consideration, we have decided that now is the time to review our agency approach and I can confirm that a formal pitch process for our Ribena account in GB&I has begun. We will look to appoint a new agency from our shortlist by the end of the year,” Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I’s marketing director Hannah Norbury said.

In the past 12 months, the brand has launched Ribena Sparkling, swapped its plastic straws for paper straws and has created a new bottle for bottle-to-bottle recycling. 

“All this makes for a really exciting time in our business and the pitch will focus on appointing the right agency to deliver Ribena’s fine-tuned purpose and positioning,” Norbury added.

“We can’t give too much away at this stage, but we’re excited by what’s to come and can say that the winning agency will need to have a passion for sustainability, highly creative thinking and an agile team that will help us to deliver growth.” 

A new agency will also need to help the brand navigate the government’s impending advertising restrictions on food and drink that is high in fat, salt and sugar. These include no advertising of such products on TV before 9pm or at any time online. 

Norbury added: “We wish Wunderman Thompson, who have been by our side celebrating British blackcurrants for seven brilliant years, the very best of luck for the future.”

J Walter Thompson (now Wunderman Thompson) first won the account in 2015, after a pitch against Mother, VCCP and Grey London. Ribena previously used M&C Saatchi.

Ribena launched a £6.2m campaign in 2019, in which it pretended to reposition itself as an artisan product. The TV spot focused on a “blackcurrant artist” musing on the dedicated approach he takes to his job – "Blackcurrants are my paint; the field, my canvas" – before he is snapped out of his reverie by a supervisor. It ends with the tagline: "Blackcurrant artistry since 1938."

Suntory works with Adam & Eve/DDB on its Lucozade brand, an account the agency won in October 2019