CUB marketing leader debuts new agency to support brands launching in-house agencies

Former CUB marketer joins forces with former global CMO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Present Company agency founder and ex-CEO of Clemenger BBDO

CUB premium brands marketing chief and instigator of the FMCG’s in-house digital agency, Chris Maxwell, has spun out his own marketing, data and tech consultancy aimed at helping other brands build and optimise an in-house agency model.

Maxwell has joined forces with one-time CMO of CUB, Bacardi and Walgreens Boots Alliance, Andy Gibson, along with Present Company agency founder, Marty Wirth, and ex-CEO of Clemenger BBDO, Nick Garrett, on the new lution business. The emphasis is on strategy, planning and implementation of the in-house agency model, martech, adtech and data infrastructure design and implementation, marketing automation, process optimisation, and brand strategy, creative and production services.

Founding clients include Betfair, MYOB, MightyCraft, Wanderlust, Jetty Road Brewery, Park SSC and ENGO.

According to Maxwell, there has never been a better time for marketers to be building an in-house agency model to access speed, more efficiency and effectiveness. Lution’s aim is to support this with creative and strategic services.

“At lution, we bring digital, media, creative and production services in-house, closer to the business and more tightly aligned to the brand, to enable faster, more effective and efficient work,” he said.

By way of example, Maxwell said it’d helped Betfair design and implement an in-house agency model, data and technology solutions enabling automation and personalisation. It also connected Betfair to what lution is calling its Enhanced Creative Panel to access creative services for a brand relaunch and upcoming brand campaign. The panel includes independent strategic, creative and production talent available to lution clients and was designed by Garrett.

“Ultimately, we’ve set up our Enhanced Creative Panel to enable brands direct access to elite talent on a project basis and the talent is picked bespoke for the task vs being forced on you because of a large retainer,” Garrett explained.

Speaking on the experience so far, Betfair marketing director, Nick Thomas, said lution’s help to design and implement an internal agency model included creative, production and media.

“We subsequently agreed an extended program for them to design our data and martech infrastructure to support the internal agency and growth agenda,” he said.

“The team on our project is senior, focused and experienced, having built this and done this before. The models and frameworks they use are some of the best I’ve seen, and at each stage of the project I have felt like there’s an agility and personalisation in the way they work.”

Maxwell joined CUB in 2007 and held roles including national sponsorship manager, GM of media, digital, partnerships and hospitality and head of marketing services before taking up the opportunity to launch Speakeasy Studio, CUB’s internal digital agency. He’s been working on the lution proposition since mid-2020.

According to CMO’s State of the CMO 2020 research across Australian marketing leaders, three-quarters are running content production functions in-house, while seven in 10 reported media and creative production was an in-house function. One in five also stated they were running media buying and trading in-house.

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