Coles Media scores another coup with Sam Hegg joining as head of strategy and planning

Mumbrella can reveal Coles Media has added another agency heavyweight to its growing media setup, with Dentsu Solutions executive director of strategy Sam Hegg joining as head of strategy and planning.

Hegg finishes up at Dentsu tomorrow, 11 March, after almost 12 years. He joins his former boss at Carat, Paul Brooks, who also moved across as general manager from Nine last week. Brooks became the first big name to jump ship to Coles Media, as it makes its big play in retail media. Mumbrella understands the Brooks move has been finalised, as was reported, and that the deal was still working on finer details. He will officially start in the next few months, with Hegg taking on his new role next week.

Hegg to join Brooks at Coles retailer media offering

Hegg has extensive experience in strategy and has a sales-orientated background. He told Mumbrella that after twelve hugely rewarding years at Dentsu, “I’m very excited to be joining the fast growing and dynamic area of retail media with one of the most trusted businesses in Australia, at Coles”.

“It was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to and I can’t wait to join the team”

Chief marketing officer at Coles, Lisa Ronson told Mumbrella: “We are really excited to have Sam Hegg joining our Coles Media, Centre of Excellence as head of planning. Sam will be working with Paul Brooks to help our suppliers and partners have the most seamless experience with their brands at Coles, enabling holistic campaign management across our strong media assets with the goal to deliver stronger results for supplier funded campaigns.”

The news comes after yesterday evening the supermarket chain revealed it is in the market for a bespoke agency offering for its creative, media and strategic accounts. Each of Omnicom Group, Publicis Groupe and WPP have been given the opportunity tp pitch. Its incumbent agencies are DDB, Big Red, TBWA and OMD.

Hegg was made national managing director of DentsuX in January 2019 during a period of significant flux for the agency, and the wider Dentsu group. This included Brooks’ departure from Carat shortly after the loss of several major clients, including the $20m Amart account and Mondelēz International, worth around $40m.

Hegg replaced current Dentsu ANZ CEO Tangas in the MD role, with her taking on the newly created role of executive director of business operations for the wider group. She was then made CEO in H2 2019, following Henry Tajer’s short-lived stint. This morning, Tajer was revealed to be joining The Influence Group as CEO, marking his return to the industry.

Two big hires in two weeks for Coles Media

Shortly after, Hegg left DentsuX to join DAN’s newly created offering, Dentsu Solutions as executive director of strategy. He has been in this role since. Hegg said that he leaves Dentsu as “long time friends”.

Next week, details can be expected to further clarify the set-up at Coles Media, in regards to where the team sits, with rumours that Coles Media team will sit external to the Coles set-up, based in Cremorne.

Coles is building up its Media offering to rival Woolworths Group’s Cartology. Both Brooks and Hegg bring expertise in the area across, having worked alongside Woolworths and in the development of Cartology, during their time at Carat, which was then launched in early 2019. 

During their time at Carat, the agency also held the master media account for Woolworths, before Woolworths@DAN was established in 2018 as Dentsu Aegis Network’s bespoke agency, with its creation seeing talent brought across from network agencies like Carat, Amnet, iProspect, Columbus and Posterscope.

Carat’s chief digital officer Sarah James moved from Melbourne to Sydney to head up Woolworths@DAN at the time. Dentsu retained the entire Woolworths account in 2020, which includes Big W as well as Dan Murphy’s and BWS, said to be worth above $150 million.

In his role at Coles, Brooks will be responsible for the delivery of a new Coles media operating model, leading the Coles Supplier Media Centre of Excellence, and interface that will enable supplier partners to access multichannel media solutions across Coles owned and bought media.

Dentsu was contacted for comment on Hegg’s departure, but had not responded at the time of publishing.


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