Field of media and creatives agencies line up for a place on the $49m Optus pitch

Optus logoMedia and creative agencies are eagerly positioning to compete for the Optus media and creative accounts in what is shaping up to be one of the most fiercely contested pitches of 2015.

Last week Mumbrella revealed Australia’s second largest telco was reviewing its full agency roster as it readies for a closed tender for media and creative in the coming months, putting the likes of M&C Saatchi and Starcom on alert.

Incumbent media agency Starcom is tipped to faceoff against at least three contenders, with a plethora of creative agencies thought to be also vying for the high profile business.

Pitch consultants Enth Degree are understood to be working on both the media and creative pitch and have been issuing invitations to agencies to be involved.

In the media space, incumbent Starcom is tipped to be facing a field likely consisting of:

GroupM is thought to be reluctant to put up an agency for the pitch after its recent loss of the account in Asia.

It is also thought Omnicom is unlikely to put an agency in for the pitch as PHD has telco Amaysim as a client while sister agency OMD boasts Telstra as one of its biggest clients.

The creative field also appears to be hotly contested. Optus’ creative agency roster currently boasts M&C Saatchi as lead, with The Works responsible for direct marketing and Ogilvy handling its business account. All agencies are believed to be participating in the review.

McCann Sydney, Droga5 and Saatchi & Saatchi are also rumoured to be considering throwing their hats in the ring. Droga5 were taken off retainer, but remained “on the roster” for Telstra in August 2013 but have since had limited visibility on the brand, with the telco relying largely on DDB Sydney, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne and The Monkeys.

McCann missed out on the Vodafone account to Cummins & Partners at the end of last year, while Saatchi & Saatchi’s roster also currently lacks a telco.

Mumbrella understands the review stems from Optus’ parent company Singtel’s contractual set-up requiring it to run the rule over its agency arrangements every three years.

It also comes just two months after Vicki Brady was appointed chief marketer at Optus following the departure of Nathan Rosenberg last year. Starcom was appointed in March 2012 while M&C Saatchi retained its place on the creative roster at the same time.

According to Nielsen Optus has a $49m main media spend in the 12 months to May.

M&C Saatchi repositioned the brand in recent years around the ‘Yes’ proposition, hiring comedian Josh Thomas as the face of the brand, as well as working on the brand’s Clever Bouy initiative.

Optus and all contacted agencies declined to comment.

Nic Christensen and Miranda Ward


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