Huckleberry loses its biggest client as Medibank moves $20m account to sister agency Carat

MedibankDentsu Aegis has retained the media account for Medibank Private, with the business to move from Huckleberry to sister agency Carat.

The move is a major win for the agency group, which fought a rearguard account to retain the account but sees full service Huckleberry lose its biggest client.

In a statement issued this afternoon Tamalin Morton, Medibank general manager of marketing and brand said: “We are delighted to announce our new partnership with Carat, and look forward to working with them on both our Medibank and ahm brands.

“They offer a highly integrated offering, are a great cultural fit for Medibank and have a strong Melbourne-based presence.”

Mumbrella first revealed, back in February, that Australia’s largest private health insurer was pitching media back in February with no less than five agencies lining up for the pitch.

Among the agencies on the shortlist were incumbent Huckleberry, facing off against UM, Mindshare and sister agency Carat, who was rumoured to be in the mix in an attempt to help retain the account within the group.

It is understood that the final shortlist came down to a shootout between UM and Carat.

Morton thanked Huckleberry for its services in a statement saying: “I’d like to extend my thanks to our current incumbent, Huckleberry, for the highly productive relationship we have had over the last seven years.

Dentsu Aegis played down the impact of the loss on Huckleberry, which is thought to have billings in excess of $20m, saying it “business as usual” at the agency which has a staff of 60.

In a statement, Carat CEO Simon Ryan said: “Medibank is a great Australian brand and we are very excited to be appointed to work with them.

“The team at Carat alongside specialist divisions Carat Direct and Carat Connect delivered an outstanding proposition to Medibank with a real focus on driving business growth through redefining the value of media”.

Luke Littlefield, Dentsu Aegis Network CEO was also quoted in the statement saying: “I congratulate Carat on this win, they provided an excellent response to the brief and I am confident they will be a great partner for Medibank.

I would also like to commend Carat’s sister agency, Huckleberry, who pitched strongly as the incumbent. Whilst it is difficult to see one of our agencies miss out, we are really pleased to keep this great business within the wider Dentsu Aegis Network Group.”

Nielsen estimates Medibank Private had a media spend of $14.5m in the 12 months to Dec 2014, however this figure is thought to dramatically underestimate Medibank’s large digital advertising spend.

Nic Christensen 


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