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Fmcg manufacturer McCain Foods is bucking the trend by shunning the roster route – picking just one group, Elmwood, to handle its work for the foreseeable future. What are the pros and cons of such an approach?


What a breath of fresh air to hear that McCain is so confident about its brand consultancy that it has cut out the roster. Some of the best partnerships are built on trust, loyalty and long-term relationships.The great association of Paul Rand and IBM comes to mind.


Glenn Tutssel, Executive creative director, Enterprise IG


Appointing one design consultancy when logic dictates spreading the ‘risk’, has to be applauded. Celebrate the fact that here is a client that is willing to put its faith in a talented consultancy. The biggest threat to this agreement will be complacency, on either side.


Rune Gustafson, Senior partner, Lippincott Mercer


Design rosters fuel competition, producing more creative solutions. Consultancies cannot become complacent because they are always being challenged. A roster also exposes a group’s strengths and weaknesses and allows the client to tailor the creative brief.


David Beard, Creative director, Brandhouse WTS


McCain has got brains. Would that more clients had the courage and vision this company is showing. Like all long-term commitments, client/consultancy relationships have their moments of tension and moments of joy. But it’s this mutual trust and commitment that creates an environment in which creativity can really flourish. Clients end up with the work that they deserve, and McCain will ultimately receive better work from its consultancy because of its decision.


Andy Knowles, Partner, Jones Knowles Ritchie.



I would expect the client to benefit from lots of practical benefits, such as better value for money, greater time efficiencies as well as a consistent strategic vision. Creatively, I hope the client would choose to work with a consultancy that they feel excited, challenged and surprised by. At the same time, Elmwood should strive to keep its work fresh and original, as the curve balls that create exciting design often come from a consultancy that isn’t so engrained in a brand.


Sam Dumont, Creative partner, Drag

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