In this special edition of Pitch Watch Nic Christensen and Simon Canning outline what the major creative and media pitches of this year are likely to be.
Coles – media
The first signs that Coles is looking to formally pitch were revealed last week when it emerged that most of the major advertising holding groups had been sent requests for information (RFIs).
Should Coles and its parent Wesfarmers pull the trigger, the pitch could easily be the biggest of 2016, with Coles, KMart, First Choice Liquor, Bunnings Warehouse, Coles Insurance and Target among the many brands represented currently by incumbent UM.
All tolled, Nielsen puts the total value of the account at some $220m, with most of the five major groups likely to participate. Dentsu Aegis is the only group unlikely to be involved given its agency, Carat has rival Woolworths. Starcom, which has Metcash, and Maxus, which has Aldi, are not be expected to be involved.
Any pitch is likely to draw comparisons to rivals Woolworths, whose 2014 pitch became a drawn-out process, and you can expect the likes of OMD and GroupM agencies Mediacom, Mindshare or MEC, to be very interested in the pitch.
Westpac – media
In 2015 there was one brand that many in media agencyland had their eyes on: Westpac.
The banking giant had a new chief marketer with the promotion of Martine Jager in July 2015, and in the wake of the misreporting scandal that occurred at incumbent Mediacom many saw it as a ripe opportunity.
Jager had previously headed up Rams Financial Group but is now also responsible for all marketing across the group, with many in the industry tipping Match Media, which does the buying for subsidiary Rams, to be well positioned to pick up more work.
That said, the latest rumours have Westpac staying with Mediacom for the immediate future as the bank seeks to restructure its marketing operations.
According to Nielsen the account is worth some $45m – more like $70m when digital and all its various brands such as St George, BankSA, Rams and BT Financial are factored in, and it is expected that many of the media agencies that participated in the Commonwealth Bank pitch in 2014 (e.g. OMD and Mediabrands) will eagerly put their hands up to be involved.
All agencies contacted declined to comment about a potential Westpac pitch.
Tourism Australia – media
Tourism Australia has already opened the tender process for its media account, one of the most prestigious in the Australian market.
While domestically the media account is not worth much, given it does not finance domestic marketing activities, this pitch is really about the global ad spend of the tourism body, thought to be around $250m over three years. Unsurprisingly then the pitch is likely to be won by a multinational player, and likely one with a strong presence in Asia.
Incumbent OMD is likely to face a full field of contenders for what will be a three-year contract with the option of two one-year extensions.
Tourism Australia – creative
Some see it as the biggest game in town – the national brand on an international stage, spiced with political intrigue and the rare chance to do something really big.
Clemenger BBDO and STW agency DT bagged the business three years ago and the the contract comes up for renewal this year. TA does have the option to rollover the contract for both agencies twice for a further 12 months, bringing the potential length of the contract to five years.
Tourism Australia CMO Ronson
While a rollover is the most likely scenario, one compelling argument for putting the business back out to tender is the fact that the tourism body has had a complete change of management since the contract was awarded.
Both Tourism Australia MD Andrew McEvoy and CMO Nick Baker have since left, replaced by John O’Sullivan as MD and Lisa Ronson in the CMO chair.
The time could be right for the new management team to put their own stamp on the brand, particularly with the Australian dollar receding again, making it a more attractive destination for longer haul markets.
Toyota – media
In December of last year independent The Media Store shook up its management structure and the reasons for making the change were immediately apparent to the market.
It wanted to be in the best position it could to save The Media Store’s one major client – Toyota.
Departing was CEO Chris Mort and in comes senior Toyota media executive Craig Jepsen. Who better to save the business than a senior member of the client team?
Owner Warren Hill is also preparing to take a more active role in the business as the independent media agency prepares to defend Toyota, its biggest client, against an expected media review in the next 18 months.
Should Toyota pitch a slew of Melbourne agencies is expected to line up for the account when Toyota relocates to the city in late 2017. Among the likely contenders should the account pitch, is Dentsu Mitchell, Starcom and UM.
The Media Store faces the challenge of the fact that its offices are in St Leonards, NSW, and that it has no Melbourne office.
Toyota has already begun launching reviews of its various suppliers in the marketing space and is currently pitching its events, product launches and roadshows.
However, it is worth noting that the independent headed off a major threat to its cast-iron grip on the Toyota account in 2014 by defending the dealership element of sub-brand Lexus’ account, holding off network agencies UM, Mediavest and Publicis Media.
But while the media agency has sought to broaden its client base and win new business from other tier-one clients, it has struggled to land the big accounts, picking up a number of smaller clients including Pet Barn, GHD, Sealy Posturepedic and Kennards Self Storage.
Dentsu Mitchell in particular will be eyeing the account, and will play on the strong links between Dentsu and Toyota in Japan should a pitch come up.
Telstra – media
The Optus pitch wrapped up just a few weeks ago but already there a number of agencies speculating about the potential for Australia’s biggest telco, Telstra to pitch its $100m media account.
Joe Pollard has now been in the big chair for more than a year and late last year conducted a major restructure of the telco’s marketing and media operations.
OMD has retained the account for almost a decade, fighting off the likes of Naked back in 2010, and building out a market-leading programmatic solution that in many ways is seen as wedding the telco and agency to each other.
But as the telco giant moves to take more of that programmatic buying in-house, many media agencies are hoping to break OMD’s grip on the account.
Telstra – creative
As with media, the pieces of Jo Pollard’s marketing puzzle are slowly sliding into place, but the telco still faces an unwieldy and disparate roster of creative agencies servicing its many silos.
It’s a model that Optus has just replicated with its agency appointments.
Telstra CMO Pollard
The Monkeys now seem to handle the majority of the brand work for the telco, while the likes of DDB, RGA, and Lavender all working on various parts of the business. Clemenger BBDO was added to the list last year, and the time for a more formal review may have arrived.
The brand has remained true to its ‘It’s How We Connect’ brand positioning created under the watch of Mark Buckman, but it would seem the time is now right for Pollard to address the creative future of the brand and its agencies.
Wholesale change may not be on the cards, but with a resurgent Optus snapping at its heels, a good, hard look at its creative relationships and output seems almost certain for Australia’s largest telco.
National Australia Bank – media
Its been more than three years since Mindshare was appointed to the National Australia Bank media account and the bank has a new CMO, Andrew Knott.
The account is worth more than $40m and, increasingly, there are whispers it may look to test the market.
NAB – creative
This year NAB and Clemenger BBDO celebrate a decade in partnership, and it’s hard to see the relationship ending any time soon.
But the bank has conducted a number of reviews of the business in that time and grown its roster to add digital specialists such as DT and newcomers such as The Royals, to its team.
A review for the sake of taking the pulse of the brand’s health would seem a likely prospect this year, but anyone invited to the dance should be fully aware that regarding this piece of business, Clemenger will be a very protective dance partner indeed.
Victorian Government – media
It’s more than three years since the largest media account in Melbourne, Victorian Government, reviewed its media.
The account, thought to be worth between $80-$100m, is currently with Dentsu Mitchells, which also holds the Federal Government master media account.
While there are no guarantees that the account will pitch in 2016, with government procurement and oversight the account is likely to tender in 2016 or 2017.
Nic Christensen is the media and technology editor at Mumbrella; Simon Canning is the marketing and advertising editor at Mumbrella.