CRC 2017: Lg2 likes to see the whole picture

This year's #3 agency found success building its design business into full branding efforts.

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This article appears in the March/April 2017 issue of strategy.

For Claude Auchu of Lg2, the #3 agency, design has always been the advertising industry’s underdog. But that’s starting to change.

The partner, VP and CD at Lg2 Boutique, which launched as a division of the agency in 2006, says his discipline is getting some overdue recognition as brands appreciate the value of linking all aspects of branding – from logos to packaging to advertising.

A growing share of Lg2’s business begins with a rebrand and grows into a full campaign, he says. While the Lg2 group has seen revenue growth of 10% year over year for the past decade, for the design branch that number is 25%.

FARNHAM Affiche Formule EN v9 (LONDON)“When you see the big picture and you know what’s happening from the beginning to end on a brand, it really helps with the understanding,” says Nellie Kim, partner, VP and CD. “If there’s an issue that comes up, you know what’s going on from design to strategy to copy to all the different integrated parts of it.”

One example is Lg2’s award-winning “A Bit Bitter” work for Farnham Ale & Lager (#7 brand), which picked up Clio, Epica and other awards last year. The brewer came to the agency for branding help three years ago and is now on the third iteration of the advertising campaign.

The ads evolved from clever OOH beer tanks, personifying a bitter odd-one-out, to print ads depicting a humorous scenario of mild bitterness: a professor’s shock at a custodian erasing chalkboard math equations; a woman, surrounded by 10 children, holding up a positive pregnancy test to her husband.

The design challenge was to maintain the central idea from the first campaign, connecting the bitter people and the bitter beer through an icon (in that case the beer tanks) while keeping the tone light and humorous, says Luc Du Sault, also a partner, VP and CD (and the #7 AD, #10 CW and #11 CD). The solution was to use the tab on beer cans as the gaping mouths expressing the (mildly) bitter surprise.

The agency has also used product design as an advertising tool. Its “Give-A-Care” campaign for Rethink Breast Cancer got its message out by creating design-heavy products to help recently diagnosed women with the side effects of cancer treatment, from lip balm to cozy scarves.

“By using uniquely designed products, we could extend the shelf-life of the message for these women,” says Kim.