by Herman Manson (@marklives) Ninety9cents (99c) has been appointed as lead creative and digital agency for Spur Steak Ranches, following a four-way pitch. The account has been held by Haas since 2012, when it followed Francois de Villiers from Draftfcb. Haas declined to repitch, although invited to do so.

99c already works on the John Dory’s, Panarottis and Captain DoRego’s accounts, which fall under the Spur Corporation umbrella.

According to Allen Ambor, Spur founder, while it has been a personal career highlight to work with De Villiers, the brand is in need of a fresh perspective, as demanded by franchise holders. The social media outrage, centred on an alleged assault in a Spur restaurant, didn’t affect its decision to put the business out to pitch (its handling of the case didn’t please anyone and included calls for a boycott of the franchise), he says.

Ninety9cents logoClose race

Ambor describes it as a close race between 99c and TBWA\Hunt Lascaris but, ultimately, Marius van Rensburg, 99c executive creative director, and his team held the edge. Van Rensburg, he says, understands what’s important to Spur clients and what will entice them to return, and has a grasp on the range of experiences customers associate with the brand and good service, from the aroma inside the restaurant to the way they are bid farewell on exiting.

The group will be looking for freshness, a new sense of excitement and new angles to reach the hearts and minds of consumers, which will renew the fondness South Africans already feel for the brand, from the new agency.

“Spur is not only South Africa’s most-successful restaurant group, it’s a huge part of our national identity, and it was important for us to demonstrate a fresh, progressive approach, while honouring its proud heritage,” says Andrew Brand, 99c managing director. “We presented a compelling strategy that supports the business objectives, underpinning a multi-channel execution showcasing exactly what has made Spur one of SA’s most-iconic brands for the past 50 years.”

“Strategic substance”

“We feel that the work presented by 99c has strategic substance, and is in harmony with the evolution of our business,” adds Sacha du Plessis, group marketing executive at Spur Corporation. “We believe their approach will resonate with Spur’s customers, who are the lifeblood of our business.”


Herman Manson 2017Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

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