Pitch Watch: Coles media pitch formalised; AFL media moves from Mediacom to Vizeum

Mumbrella casts an eye over the major media, creative and public relations pitches at play in market. 

ColesIn this week’s wrap up: Coles and Target (formalised media pitch); AFL (media account move).

Coles formalises media pitch, putting briefs in market 

It’s set to be the biggest media pitch of 2016. Coles has been moving steadily towards a media pitch and Mumbrella can now reveal the pitch has been formalised, with briefs for Coles and Target now in market – but it is understood that other parts of the businesses have not joined the review.

The move comes despite sustained efforts from incumbent IPG Mediabrands to head off a pitch. It is understood that UM’s senior leadership of Danny Bass, Ross Raeburn, Mark Pejic and Chris O’Keefe met with Coles management a fortnight ago in an unsuccessful attempt to try to curtail the formal pitch process; however, briefs went out over the previous 10 days.

As Mumbrella revealed last week, IPG Mediabrands has also brought in former senior Coles executive (and later, Woolworths CMO) Tony Phillips as a “consultant” on the business. 

The shortlist of agencies lining up to contest the pitch is understood to include: OMD; Mindshare, and ZenithOptimedia. All agencies contacted declined to comment.

Industry rumours suggest that a key driver of the media pitch is cost-cutting by Coles, with the company eager to find savings in its marketing.

Coles declined to comment on the media pitch. It remains unclear precisely what parts of the account are out to pitch, with parent company Wesfarmers understood to be divided about the pitch. Bunnings is understood to be happy with the incumbent whereas other divisions of the business are believed to be interested in testing the market.

Nielsen estimates the media spend of Wesfarmers at $221m, with $56m of that on Coles Supermarkets.

AFL-234x134Vizeum wins AFL media account 

One of the most high-profile media pitches out of Melbourne has been resolved, with the AFL choosing to move media agencies following a competitive review.

Mumbrella can reveal the account will move from incumbent Mediacom to Vizeum, which will take over all the AFL’s media strategy, planning and buying duties.

The AFL called the pitch late last year with a field of Melbourne agencies, including fellow Dentsu Aegis agency Carat as well as PHD and Starcom chasing the account.

AFL general manager of commercial operations, Darren Birch, said the AFL felt Vizeum presented the best case aligned to its expanding business needs.

“Vizeum presented a very strong strategy and creative approach whilst showcasing their method to collaborate with partners, innovation and account management, which was key to our decision,” Birch said.

“The AFL would like to thank our incumbent agency, Mediacom, which has been a very valuable partner in assisting to grow the game over the past nine years.”

Nielsen estimates AFL as having a $9m media spend; however, the precise size of the account is complicated by the multiple contra deals involved with the sporting code.

“Vizeum’s understanding and approach to integrate with the AFL’s media partners – the Seven Network, Foxtel, News Corp Australia and Telstra – delivered all of our prerequisites, and we look forward to working with them, moving forward,” Birch said.

Vizeum national managing director, Travis Day, said he was pleased to win the high-profile Melbourne account: “The AFL is a brand that connects with so many aspects of society and the opportunity to partner with an organisation that helps shape the fabric of Australia is truly humbling.

“The agency, at large, is buoyed by this prospect and I am extremely proud of our talented people and the work they have developed.”

Vizeum last year won the iNova pharmaceuticals account and Greater Building Society.

Nic Christensen



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