The brand formerly worked with several agencies on its marketing efforts.
According to sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the brand formerly worked with Pereira & O’Dell on brand creative, Kepler on digital media buying and planning, and Palisades on above-the-line media buying and planning such as broadcast.
It is currently transitioning all those services to R2C Group, a transition it expects to conclude by the end of the month. The scope of the assignment also includes media and analytics. The appointment follows the arrival of Phil Bienert as CMO a little over a year ago.
Bienert told AgencySpy that R2C Groups’ experience with direct-to-consumer brands was one contributing factor in their selection.
“It was the right place at the right time,” he said.
After taking over as CMO last year and evaluating the company’s approach, he said he “recognized we needed to operate more like the direct-to-consumer brand we’ve been through most of our history. While we had good partners in place performing well, what we didn’t have was a partner that had that focus on direct-to-consumer from an end-to-end perspective.”
R2C Group counts brands including Wayfair, SimpliSafe, Chewy, Peloton, Consumer Cellular, and Smile Direct Club amongst its client portfolio.
Bienert explained that he also recognized the benefits of consolidating creative and media responsibilities with one shop, which he said would help the quality and effectiveness of the brand’s marketing as well as its efficiency.
“I’ve worked in a lot of agency models throughout my career,” Bienert said. “You’re able to execute campaigns that can potentially be radically different [when media and creative is consolidated] than when you’re separating those duties.
“I think that when you have so many more places where you can send touch a customer and get a message across, marrying up that creative idea of what you’re going to say to customers and where you’re going to say it is difficult to do if the creative idea in one shop and you send it over to another for media,” he added.
“For several years, we saw a trend of clients hiring marketing specialists for creative, production, offline media, social, search, and analytics,” R2C Group president and chief operating officer Jane Crisan said in a statement. “Now we’re seeing the pendulum swing back in the other direction—consolidating marketing partners makes sense for an established yet innovative company looking to scale and stay competitive with the current market. It means cohesive work, and more holistic measurement to re-disrupt the space and do it better than the competitors.”
1-800-Contacts spent around $33 million on measured marketing last year, up from just a little under $24 million in 2017, according to Kantar Media. While, according to Kantar Media, the brand spent just over $2 million in the first quarter of 2019.
Beinert explains that the assignment includes 1-800-Contacts first new campaign work in years and a full brand refresh. R2C Group’s work is expected to debut some time this summer.
He remarked that the brand’s marketing changes marked an incremental increase in its marketing investment at a time when the company is “acquiring new customers at a record rate” but stressed that the larger change was in how it was allocating its marketing dollars.
“The mix that we’re brining to market is different than it has been in the past,” he explained. “Everything we do is going to have a performance angle to it.”