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5 O´clock Tea goes to Spain

Is Brexit sending brands in search of talent?

In April, our agency won the PG Tips account and first time in its nearly 100 year history the creative agency behind the brand is located outisde of Britain. This week, Expansión (Spain's Financial Times) wrote about the win and how it is reflected in Brexit. Below is an English translation of the article. For the original, click HERE.

The five o'clock tea goes full Brexit


The PG Tips tea brand, a reference in the United Kingdom, has chosen the creative agency Lola Mullenlowe, with headquarters in Madrid and Barcelona, to carry their advertising. The great paradox is that the Unilever banner seeks with this movement to reconnect with its target audience: Brexit voters.

The effects of the British exit from the European Union have also reached the advertising world. An icon of English culture, PG Tips, has assigned its advertising account to a foreign company, in this case the advertising agency Lola Mullenlowe, with offices in Madrid and Barcelona. The decision has caused a real earthquake in the sector because this brand of Unilever tea is one of the most popular and connects with the country's cultural roots.

The decision is even more surprising if one takes into account that LOLA Mullenlowe competed against two British firms in the pitch to elect the new creative agency. The subsidiaries of DDB and Ogilvy & Mather in London failed to prevail over LOLA's proposal. This case has sown doubts to an advertising industry that does not live outside the possible adverse effects of Brexit.

In a recent report, 80% of the consulted members of the Federation of Creative Industries of the United Kingdom were not sure that London could maintain its reputation as a leading city in the sector.

One of the fears is that Brexit will cause a reduction in the free circulation of talent. "Visas are already a problem in our business, especially if you get to the point of requiring a visa from people of any country," argues Helen Kimber, a partner at The Longhouse London consultancy, which specializes in recruitment. Added to all this are social problems that have made the city less attractive, such as insecurity, crime, pollution, traffic or housing prices.

For its part, Advertising Association, an organization that represents brands, advertisers and agencies, has launched a campaign with the Department of International Trade of the British Government to strengthen the image of the country's advertising industry abroad, with the slogan Great Britain is big.

However, cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin or New York are already positioned as candidates to lead the creative industry on the globe. In addition the decreasing importance of physical centers in advertising, which are usually filled with highly pluralized and internationalized teams.

The great paradox of the PG Tips case is that the brand has partnered with a Spanish agency to reconnect with the British public. In recent years, the brand had moved away from its profile as a traditional client: the middle and working class of interior England, precisely those who voted for the Brexit the most.

It is an increasingly widespread phenomenon in Europe: faced with the uncertainty of globalization, many people prefer to entrench themselves for fear of losing their identity.

"The communication of the brand had become too sophisticated," explains Amaya Coronado, strategy director at LOLA Mullenlowe. The creative Londoners who carried PG Tips, imbued with cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism of the British capital, failed to maintain the essence of the product.

"Our mission now is to understand the mentality and concerns of these people and dive depper into moment they are living," says Coronado. LOLA is already preparing a new campaign, which will debut this year, and which will take into account the resistance to changes in this part of the English population. "We will reinforce what they know and understand," remarks the creative. 

LOLA Mullenlowe works with many other consumer and restoration brands, such as Magnum, Cornetto, Calippo -the three also belong to Unilever-, Pictionary, Grefusa or Burger King.