Pitch Watch: Optus/Virgin Mobile pitch pressos this week; HCF pitches creative; Telstra’s PR pitch; RACQ creative shortlist down to two

OptusIn a new regular section Mumbrella’s Nic Christensen casts an eye over the major media, creative and public relations pitches at play in market. 

In this week’s wrap up the latest on: Optus/Virgin Mobile, HCF (new creative pitch), RACQ, Telstra (new PR pitch), Simplot, Speciality Fashion Group, Johnson & Johnson and Mercedes.

Optus/Virgin Mobile – media, creative, public relations 

It’s likely to be the biggest pitch of 2015.

The combined Optus and Virgin Mobile pitch saw presentations for Optus begin this week with incumbent Starcom facing off against UM and Havas Media on the media side for the media account worth collectively some $60m.

As we revealed earlier in the month Optus is testing out digital creative shop AKQA and content creation shop Emotive alongside M&C Saatchi and Ogilvy for its creative, while Havas Worldwide and One Green Bean are setto defend their Virgin patches.

While Optus’s presentations were this week it is thought there are separate presentations for Virgin’s creative and public relations accounts, given the client has specified different needs.

Some agencies have expressed concerns about how long the process will take for a decision (noting last time it was close to a 12 months) however, it is understood that the noises coming from the Optus marketing team are that it will be a much faster process this time around.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.18.58 pmHCF – creative 

Health insurance fund HCF is pitching its creative account putting incumbent Serendipity on alert, Mumbrella can reveal.

The move comes weeks after HCF moved its media buying account from GroupM’s Mediacom to newly-minted Publicis agency Match Media. 

A spokesperson for HCF this morning confirmed the pitch but declined to be drawn on the shortlist.

“There is a pitch process underway, and it’s expected an agency will be appointed by the end of September,” said a HCF spokesperson.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.26.19 pmTelstra – public relations 

Optus is not the only telco in market at the moment with Telstra understood to be pitching its public relations account for its global enterprise services business.

At this stage the shortlist is not clear but it’s been a couple of years since the telco revamped its public relations roster, after cutting the number of agencies from nine to five back in 2013. 

A spokesman for Telstra told Mumbrella this afternoon: “we review our agency arrangements periodically and we are not in a position to elaborate any further on that process.”

RACQRACQ – creative 

The on again, off again, creative pitch for Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) appears to be firmly back on and down to incumbent Sapient, taking on Clemenger Brisbane.

RACQ was forced to suspend the creative pitch back in April after its chief marketer John Devaney departed.

The process resumed after Renee Davidson was appointed as its head of marketing back in May.

Speciality Fashion Group – media

KatiesThe media pitch for retailer Speciality Fashion Group, which owns major clothing chains Katies, Millers and Rivers, is thought to be getting down to the pointy end.

Mumbrella revealed last month that the $17.7m media account was up for grabs, with incumbent Chaos Media on alert and with the likes of HM Communications, PHD and Starcom all thought to be on the shortlist. 

Industry speculation has it the incumbent independent agency is unlikely to retain the account.

Earlier this year senior Chaos Media executive Glenda Wynyard was convicted in New Zealand of 11 counts of fraud, over a case involving her former agency The Media Counsel.

She is now appealing all but three of the charges and is understood to be continuing to work with the agency while the appeal process continues.

A spokesman for Speciality Fashion Group told Mumbrella earlier this year: “The decision to pitch was made some time ago. We have no further comment at this time.”

Simplot1Simplot – media 

Last week we told you that Simplot’s pitch for its $11.9m media account was down to a showdown between incumbent Dentsu Aegis against PHD and Initiative.

Rumblings continue to suggest that Dentsu Aegis will struggle to retain the account, after moving shuffling the agency between different agencies twice in as many years.

Simplot called the media pitch, for brands including Edgell, Birdseye, Lean Cuisine and Leggo’s following the decision to close its agency Huckleberry. 

A decision is expected by early September.

Mercedes and Johnson & Johnson – media 

No round up would be complete without an update on the horribly named “mediapalooza” – the 11 global media pitches currently at play which have an impact on Australian shores.

In recent weeks there have been presentations, with Australian representatives present, in both the Mercedes and Johnson & Johnson global pitches.

Mumbrella understands that in the case of Mercedes within the last fortnight Foundation, GroupM’s MEC and Publicis’ Vivaki all pitched in Melbourne for the account worth $17.9m locally. 

Meanwhile in the case of Johnson & Johnson the presentations were recently handled out of headquarters in Singapore, but with Australian involvement.

Nic Christensen is the deputy editor of Mumbrella 

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