Diageo dumps Ikon as strategy moves to Leo Burnett, with buying overseen by Mediavest

diageoAlcoholic beverages company Diageo has dumped its media agency Ikon Communications and appointed creative agency Leo Burnett to handle its media account.

The company confirmed the move this afternoon, with the deal seeing  the Mediavest arm of Starcom Mediavest overseeing the buying part within fellow Publicis agency Leo Burnett.

The loss of the account is another blow to Ikon which in the last year has lost a number of major accounts including Vodafone, Coca-Cola, and RACV WA.

Speaking to Mumbrella in Cannes, chairman of Starcom Mediavest John Sintras flagged that the company was looking to differentiate its Mediavest arm, after rumours emerged it might be rolled into a full-service offering with a sister agency.

“It’s fair to say were looking for opportunities to better collaborate with our creative brethren in a way which makes sense for clients. With Mediavest in Australia there’s an opportunity to do that to try and differentiate it from Starcom a bit,” said Sintras. 

“Hopefully very soon there will be an example of that in practice, something more meaningful. It’s wherever it makes sense for us in our group. You’ve got to try different things and that’s innovation too.”

Nielsen reports Diageo spent more than $17m on advertising in the year to June 2014.

A Diageo spokesperson said in a statement this afternoon:

I can confirm that after a three year partnership with Ikon as our media buying agency we have decided it’s time for a different approach and will not be renewing our contract with Ikon.

As the media landscape evolves to encompass owned, earned and bought media, it makes sense for us to bring these three areas under one umbrella agency.

As a result, we will be extending our partnership with Leo Burnett to include media strategy and planning. Leo’s will also oversee a buying team at sister agency Mediavest.

The transition from Ikon to Leo Burnett is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.

Leo Burnett is not believed to handle media duties for any of its other clients, which include McDonald’s, Samsung and WWF.

A spokeswoman for Leo Burnett declined to comment. Ikon had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Nic Christensen and Alex Hayes


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