Match Media to rebrand as part of Publicis’s Blue 449 media network

Media agency Match is set to rebrand to Blue 449 in January, two years after its founder John Preston sold to Publicis Group.

View of Pacific Ocean and sky, dawn, Olympic NP, WA

The move is part of a global push by Publicis to unify its second media network to sit alongside Zenith. The network created Optimedia | Blue 449 in March this year as the “open source” brand for the group, merging Optimedia with Blue 449. The six remaining Optimedia offices globally will all rebadge as Blue 449.

Match Media was founded in 2003 by John Preston and acquired by Publicis in June 2014. At the time he made it a condition of the deal that he was not obliged to rebrand to Blue 449.


John Preston: Finally agreed to rebrand

He told Mumbrella: “This is the wonderful thing about the Publicis acquisition, they’ve literally asked permission ‘Is it the right time to change?’ And my response was ‘Yes, it is the right time to change, we feel it’s more important for our people to be part of a global brand than not.”

Blue 449 has a presence in 14 markets with 22 offices, and has plans to launch a further eight offices including Singapore, Mexico, Taiwan and Bulgaria by the end of next year.

“When I got the call from the CEO of Blue 449, they asked me if this was the right time to change Match to Blue 449. I’d been very consistent with all my staff and clients since the acquisition  that ultimately at some point in time we would change from Match to Blue 449 when the time was right. And it felt right when you had big markets like the US and China converting to the Blue 449 name,” said Preston.

“It felt right we should move into that family and not be a mini-Brexit sitting out as Match trying to fight the cause. Actually there are tremendous benefits for our people. The clients have already benefited from the Publicis Media opportunity.

“Blue 449 is quite unique, it can’t be like the other agencies in the roster, it has to differentiate. The way it is differentiating is by being open to working with any party inside or outside the Publicis walled garden and to be the nexus of data and ideas.

“I had this wonderful conversation with Stephen King, the worldwide leader of Publicis Media, and he said to James and I ‘Match is quite unique, it is the embodiment of what Blue 449 needs to be around the world. You’re doing so well, you’re digitally progressive, and you’re a future-focused agency and with that we don’t want to change anything, keep doing what you do but we want to bring tools and platforms to your clients that can help them grow’.”

Match clients include HCF, RAMS, Pfizer, Ikea and NRMA. In some other markets, Blue 449 holds KFC, meaning the alignment may trigger alarm bells for Mediacom which holds the client locally.

Last year saw Match Media named Mumbrella’s media agency of the year.

The Match Media team after winning their agency of the year award

The Match Media team after winning their agency of the year award

Preston said the rebranding won’t change the “essence” of what the agency is.

“We’re changing the look of Match, if you came into our agency you’d see lots of orange and it’s now going to be blue but the feel of the agency, the essence of what we’ve built over 13 to 14 years has not changed. But what we now have is a fantastic family of like-minded people around the world to collaborate with,” he said.

Andras Vigh, Blue 449 Global Brand President said: “Our Blue 449 journey started only19 months ago but over 18 years ago for Optimedia and 13 years ago for Match. By bringing together the brands we are creating a unique agency that is truly scaled with our ‘Open Source’ philosophy. Our focus this year has been to create a consistent global footprint and an aligned name. Blue 449 will help us to drive our product and our Client’s businesses, to live up to our mantra that we are always in beta and continue our innovation in creativity and data through media. Exciting times ahead.”

Locally, Match has recently picked up Tourism New Zealand, 2017 Rugby League World Cup, Menulog digital and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

Match Media will reopen its doors on January 9 as Blue 449 with 106 staff across Sydney and Melbourne.



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