Elmwood has replaced Tayburn as lead design group for Nairn’s just weeks after the Scottish group won a Design Business Association Design Effectiveness Award for its work on the oatcake brand (pictured).
Nairn’s marketing manager Lesley Whitelaw appointed Elmwood earlier this month, following a three-way pitch that did not include Tayburn. Tayburn managing director Simon Farrell says, ‘It’s very disappointing. We did major repositioning work, and redesigned the brand and packaging in 2003. It’s been one of our strongest case studies.
‘We wrote the DBA submission in June – it was signed off by Nairn’s, and we even invited it to the awards. Then two weeks ago we were told that it didn’t want to work with us any more, and that it had held a pitch we weren’t invited to.
It has just come out of the blue, and we’re left wondering what we did wrong.’
Whitelaw explains that Tayburn was not invited to the pitch because, having worked with the consultancy for 14 years, it was obvious what it could do.
‘Tayburn has been a damn good consultancy, but everyone that we’ve had a relationship with there has left, and after that length of time, the market has changed and we have a completely new way of working,’ she adds.
Whitelaw, who joined Nairn’s early last year, appointed Elmwood to create designs for new products, as well as evolve current packaging. She previously worked with Elmwood Leeds managing director Nick Ramshaw on the Drambuie account when he was business development director at Pure. Elmwood has already completed designs for Nairn’s Snack Packs, launched last month.
Tayburn won one of 9 Golds awarded at this year’s effectiveness awards. Elmwood won a Silver and two Bronzes in the packaging category.
Farrell adds, ‘When I asked [Nairn’s] if we could do anything to retain the account, it said “no”. We were told it wasn’t about cost or service – it said it wanted a fresh pair of eyes on the account. It feels like a bit of a kick in the teeth but these things happen, and we’ve left on good terms.’
No one from Elmwood was available for comment at the time of going to press.
Tayburn – reaping as it sowed?
May 2003 – Tayburn completes a six-month rebranding and packaging project for Nairn’s Oatcakes, modernising the visual tartan style, and enlarging Nairn’s ‘N’
August 2006 – Nairn’s Oat Bakes is launched, with packaging design by Tayburn
October 2006 – Tayburn designs packaging for Nairn’s Organic Herb Oatcakes with Pumpkin Seeds
2007 – Tayburn refreshes the Nairn’s brand