Ikon and Essence’s Myer partnership ends, with entire media account returning to Ikon

The Myer account is no longer split across WPP agencies Ikon and Essence, with the entire account returning to Ikon, Mumbrella can reveal.

The move ends a partnership established six months ago.

The split involved Essence taking on full digital responsibilities for the account, while Ikon handled strategy, integrated channel planning, and offline media.

After the account split, Ikon made five redundancies – a quarter of its Melbourne office – within the Myer team.

The partnership was led by Essence’s Jenny Pham, but two months after the partnership commenced, Pham resigned.

WPP AUNZ’s executive chair of media investment management, John Steedman, confirmed that Ikon will now lead the account, but suggested it may draw on support from other WPP agencies on an ad hoc basis.

“WPP AUNZ is proud to work with its clients to ensure the right combination of teams and resources are available to them from across the network, as necessary,” Steedman told Mumbrella.

“In 2019, this included our agencies Essence and Ikon who partnered to drive substantial benefits for Myer in Q4. In 2020, Ikon will continue to lead our work for Myer, again drawing on support from agencies in the network if required.”

Pham’s exit followed the departure of multiple other Ikon employees, including Melbourne MD Mel Roberts, who originally announced the partnership to Ikon staff in an email. It was an “exciting time of change” led by Pham, and an opportunity to develop “a new way of working with our largest client”, she said.

At the time, Steedman was interim AUNZ CEO of WPP, and commented that he was confident the partnership would “deliver substantial benefits” for Myer, an account Ikon has held for more than nine years.

Roberts’ resignation saw Sydney managing partner James Sawyer expand his remit to oversee both markets.


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