2015 Annual: Top media account moves

annual2015 (1)The global chaos of ‘mediapalooza’ and a number of major domestic media pitches made 2015 arguably the biggest year ever for media account moves. Nic Christensen looks at some of the biggest pitches of the year. 

  • iiNet pitches, retained by OMD WA only to then be moved inhouse 

iinetThe year began with all eyes on the biggest media account in Western Australia the $20m iiNet account which had gone to pitch in November.

OMD WA would fight a rearguard action with the help of its network to retain the account, winning the pitch following a shootout with Initiative and Mindshare. 

Unfortunately the victory was short lived with TPG buying the business during the course of the pitch the new management would eventually choose to move the media buying inhouse, resulting in OMD WA, which is owned by Marketforce losing the account.

  • Medibank Private pitches but shifts to sister agency Carat, forcing the closure of Huckleberry 

MedibankIn February Medibank Private pitched its media account with a raft of agencies lining up for the business. 

In the end the account stayed within the Dentsu Aegis family moving from full service “creatively led” agency Huckleberry to sister agency Carat.

Sadly, for Huckleberry the loss of their largest client would force the closure of the agency only days later.

  • Simplot quits Dentsu Aegis after Huckleberry, appointing Initiative 

Simplot logosThe closure of Huckleberry had broader ramifications for Dentsu Aegis, with Simplot deciding not to move to another agency in the group and instead pitching the $11.9m account. 

A field of Melbourne media agencies were involved in the pitch but it was eventually won by Initiative.

  • News Corp dumps UM for Mediacom, but not in digital 

News Corp AustraliaNo account move surprised the market more than News Corp Australia’s sudden dumping of UM and moving its media buying to Mediacom.

The announcement was deliberately timed to be the same day that the media agency publicly addressed issues of misreporting of TV audiences among its staff and the breached the policy of its own parent company GroupM by selling back to clients free or heavily discounted advertising time given to it by TV stations.

At the time of the appointment it appeared Mediacom would get the whole account with then CMO Damian Eales “wishing them well for the future”.

It would later emerge that the publisher had chosen to keep digital with UM with Eales subsequently, declaring: ““We always took our mass media business away and Mediacom have that specifically and there is no change to that – it is business as usual.”

  • IAG follows Foxtel over to Mindshare in the wake of misreporting scandal 

IAGThe market was far less surprised by IAG decision’s to move media agencies, in the wake of the controversy involving Mediacom and misreporting. 

Mumbrella revealed IAG’s sudden move, which came just weeks after the agency addressed the misreporting, with Jane Merrick, head of marketing for IAG saying: “After a lot of consideration and due diligence, we have made the decision to move our media buying to Mindshare, a decision we have made with Mindshare, Mediacom and GroupM senior management.

“We are looking forward to putting the recent issues behind us, and know that Mindshare will be a strong partner to work with in the future.”

  • Mediapalooza madness and the some of the global pitches that hit this market – Unilever, GSK, Mondelez, Mercedes and Coty 

If one thing defined the media agency world in 2015 it was the amount of global media business put out to pitch in what was termed “mediapalooza”.

In the end more than $250m in media billings put into play in this market, with among the most of the major agency groups.

PHD was one of the big winners scoring both Unilever (a $59m account) and GSK (a $27.5m account) from GroupM agencies Mindshare and Maxus.

Mondelez was one of the final big pitches to join the mediapalooza list, rounding out a list at thirteen global pitches, and was retained by Carat. Mercedes was also one of the most closely fought pitches locally with Omnicom agency Foundation successfully retaining its biggest client account.

Another honourable mention goes to independent HM Communications which defied the global pressures and managed to retain its biggest client, cosmetics giant Coty, which owns brands such as Rimmel, Calvin Klein Fragrances, Chloe, Guess and Marc Jacobs.

While the worst of mediapalooza is over a number of global pitches remain unresolved these include: 21st Century Fox, Sony and Lacatis Parmalat.

  • Speciality Fashion Group moves part of its business to Ikon 

KatiesThe $17.7m media pitch by Speciality Fashion Group was also a closely fought account.

The brand owns Katies, Millers, Crossroads and Rivers, was pitching its media putting incumbent agency Chaos Media on alert.

Chaos had had a bad year with one of its key staff members Glenda Wynyard convicted in New Zealand of 11 counts of fraud, over a case involving her former agency The Media Counsel.

When SFG pitch the account it insisted the pitch was just part of its normal due diligence but it would later appoint Ikon Communications to head media buying for its troubled Rivers clothing brand.

  • Optus/Virgin pitches media and creative

OptusMajor telco Optus called a pitch for its media and creative in June of this year, in what became the biggest media pitch of 2015 with a combined $60m pitch.

At the time of publishing it remains unresolved although many in the industry have been tipping media to move from incumbent Starcom to UM.

In the final stages of the pitch a spanner was thrown into the works with the telco’s top marketer Vicki Brady departing and potentially dragging the appointment out until 2016. 


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