Mondelez global agency boss: You don’t need to force your agencies into a creative shoot-out


Giampoli: “You can learn a lot of from agencies by studying their work”

The head of Mondelez’s global agency relationships has urged fellow marketers to avoid pushing agencies into competitive “shoot-out” pitches, arguing that offering project work is often a better solution.

Debra Giampoli, director of global strategic agency relations for FMCG giant Mondelez, which has a billion dollar marketing spend globally, told the ANA’s Advertising Financial Management Conference in Boca Raton that the company had experimented with project work for smaller brands with solid results.

“The small (Mondelez) brands were important to our growth but would get lost working with the same big agencies. They getting same attention, the same talent, the same quality of work,” said Giampoli, describing how they came up with something called Project Meteor. “To address this did something unusual we chose five small brands and we paired them with five agencies that we wanted to learn more about.”

Giampoli said Project Meteor saw each agency offered a fixed fix for a specific work.

“We paid each agency a fixed fee for a clearly prescribed project after which each agency team could decide if they would continue the relationship or return (to the original creative agency).

“And the good news is all but one team ended up working together in the longer term.”

The senior Mondelez marketer told the room of 700 marketers and agencies that the initiative had taught her that pitches for work weren’t always the right solution.

“We learned a lot from the experience,” she said. “We learned that you don’t need to do a creative shoot-out to find good agency partners.

“When you are focused in your decision making when you have a good process and strategy you can get better work in a much better way.”

Asked by the audience where she found the right agencies Giampoli noted she spent a lot of time looking and meeting potential partners but said the internet was often the first port of call.

“I do a lot of scouring of the agency world,” she said. “I meet with a lot of agencies proactively to understand and see if they can partner with Mondelez at some point.

“What I ensure is that I know the agencies pretty well before we make an assignment. I want to be sure that the capabilities are well matched.

“You can learn a lot of from looking at their website, by studying what their work is and from their (existing) clients.”

Giampoli also argued that project work was useful to gauge an agency’s capability, particularly at a time when marketer expectations were only growing and becoming more demanding.

“The old adage of speed, quality and cost where you can only choose two doesn’t work anymore,” she said. “We want all of them.

“Agencies want clients that cover costs and ensure profitability but they are not going to achieve the capabilities (we want) unless we pay them.

“To quote my boss it’s really hard to change the tyres while we driving the car and therefore clients need to be the change.”

Nic Christensen in Boca Raton


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