Unilever names LPi Group its shopper and in-store AOR

The independent's "biggest win" in its 30-year history comes alongside a series of new executive appointments.

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“It’s our biggest win, probably in the history of the agency.”

That’s according to Craig Lindsay, president and partner at LPi Group, speaking to strategy about the agency winning the shopper marketing and in-store account for Unilever Canada.

LPi was awarded the business following a competitive multi-agency review process. It covers 30 brands Unilever sells and markets in Canada, including Dove, Axe and Ben & Jerry’s and will, at the start, involve eight dedicated staffers.

Prior, Unilever had divided its shopper marketing between two WPP agencies: in-store visuals were handled by Barrows and traditional shopper by Geometry. Now, both assignments have been consolidated under the independent agency, with business being led out of its Toronto office, collaborating with the strategic team from Calgary.

To secure Unilever was unexpected, but exciting, says Lindsay. It is currently working on a campaign for the company’s Lifebuoy soap, and is now in-market with a digital receipt validation program for the Axe, Dove Care for Men and Degree brands that leverages a relationship with the Toronto Raptors.

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When it comes to shopper space going forward, Lindsay says packaging and gamification will play even more significant roles. Packaging, he says, will be important in swaying purchase decisions, as well as to communicate increasingly important product innovations and sustainability efforts.

Also, Lindsay says, more brands are using gaming specific initiatives with mobile instant wins and contest entry as well as customized gaming applications to create better engagement. This is partially at play with the deodorant/Raptors execution, giving fans the chance to win team merch in exchange for upload photos of their purchase.

But this will only increase over the next many years as, Lindsay adds, as retailers specifically will find ways for these executions to fit into earning loyalty points, fleshing out their offering to create more engagement and communication opportunities.

“Shopper has existed for a long time…and is always considered a below the line service offering,” he says, but now, it’s more important than ever, especially with all the data that’s available and everyone is realizing the importance of it.

LPi Group, which is currently comprised of 40 full time staffers, is also marking its 30th anniversary with changes to its senior leadership team’s structure, in part to address client wins. Other recent works includes Danone‘s International Delight.

Lindsay’s role will pivot to be more strategic vision-oriented, while Melody MacPherson, previously VP managing director of the Toronto office, is taking the helm as president of the agency. Ken Youngberg, an LPi veteran of various strategic roles, has been named chief creative strategist and will lead the agency’s craft approach to creative engagement strategies; Erin Henry, former group account director, is being promoted to the newly created role of VP, client engagement.