NSW Government consolidates media account with OMD

The New South Wales government has consolidated its master media account with Omnicom Media Group agency, OMD after a lengthy tender process.

The Department of Customer Service (DCS) has awarded OMD the Media Agency Services (MAS) account after a 12 month process, which was eventually whittled down to a final two including UM. Both were incumbent on parts of the account.

OMD now holds the master media accounts to both Victoria and New South Wales, after winning the former last year. The final two would’ve flexed the ability to handle a government account, with UM the incumbent on the federal government account, retaining it last year. 

The NSW Government’s current agency list includes agencies UM, OMD, Havas Media and Atomic 212, with WPP handling rate negotiations, non-campaign activities and whole-of-government expenditure reporting. The account was previously held by UM, winning it from Mediacom in 2013, before it was restructured in 2017. 

The NSW government said the rigorous two stage tender is expected to save NSW taxpayers more than $100 million across three years.

According to Nielsen, the NSW Government account was the fifth largest across 2021, trailing only the Federal Government account, Harvey Norman, the Victorian Government, and Woolworths.

Department of Customer Service deputy secretary of customer, delivery and transformation William Murphy estimates the contract at $70 million annually and includes media planning, strategy and buying services for more than 250 NSW Government advertising campaigns a year including those for COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.

“Whether it is the latest health advice, connecting people with government services or cost of living support through the Savings Finder program, the NSW Government is committed to delivering customer-centric communications that provide value to the people of NSW.”

“Savings will come from aggregated media buying power along with centralised oversight and management of NSW Government campaigns and data to ensure continuous improvement of customer communications.

“The NSW Government can reinvest these savings back into essential services such as roads, hospitals and schools which support people, families and local communities across the State.

“The NSW Government looks forward to continuing to work with OMD and we are confident OMD will be able to manage the varying needs of the numerous NSW Government departments.

“We thank other agencies for their hard work and dedication to servicing NSW Government departments across the past five years.”

The existing panel’s services will be consolidated to a single supplier now, with the new contract to begin in October this year, running to 2025.

The NSW gov further added that the tender requirements were based on a “thorough opportunity and needs assessment with an open Expression of Interest followed by a closed Request for Proposal to short-listed suppliers”

“The tender was open to all types of media agencies”, seemingly hinting at the IMAA’s campaign to have the EOI altered. 

The IMAA campaigned after the EOI asked for a single provider, essentially ruling out independent agencies from competing for the coveted account.

IMAA CEO Sam Buchanan said at the time: “To have the NSW Government exclude us from this contract is not in the national interest. This will send the money offshore to support another country’s economy and not our own.”

OMD Australia Co-CEO Sian Whitnall said: “The strengthening of our relationship across all NSW Government departments aligns with OMD’s evolved ambition of performance with integrity for our people and partners, to drive partnerships of value and sustainable ways of working.”

OMD Sydney MD Kim Hamilton added: “We will proudly build upon our existing relationship with NSW Government which centers on transparency and mutual accountability, to deliver for all departments and the people of New South Wales,” Ms Hamilton said.

This marks a major win for OMD, after it lost the Bank of Queensland account last week. It is currently awaiting the result of Coles’ integrated pitch, where the agency is the incumbent on the media side. Winning one of the nation’s largest accounts is a vote of confidence for co-CEOs Laura Nice and Sian Whitnall, who were appointed into the role in 2021 after Aimee Buchanan joined GroupM as national CEO.

Following the appointment of OMD, the IMAA’s CEO Sam Buchanan said: “While we are disappointed with the way the NSW Government conducted its master media pitch and the outcome, we are not surprised. The Government has turned its back on the independent media agency sector and appears content for agency profits to be sent overseas, rather than supporting Australian-owned businesses. The IMAA is continuing to have active discussions with the Government to change the process in the future.”



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