Subway moves to Publicis, ending 10 years with AKQA Media/Ikon

Subway has ended its decade long partnership with AKQA Media (formerly Ikon), handing its media duties to Publicis Groupe’s Zenith Media. Subway confirmed to Mumbrella that the move came without a pitch, with the account thought to be worth $25 million.

This creates a “power of one” model for Subway with the French holding company, as Publicis Worldwide also holds the creative account. The partnership is effective from 1 April 2022.

Subway was a foundation partner for Ikon’s Brisbane office, winning the account from Starcom in 2011. Ikon was merged with AQKA Media at the start of 2021, with AKQA Media is set to merge with Essence on 1 January 2022, there after rebranding as Essence, part of GroupM. 

The quick service restaurant brand said that since signing Subway, AKQA Media has supported it “during a period of significant growth”, as it said it “is now the largest operating QSR in the ANZ region, with over 1,400 sites.

Head of marketing at Subway, Rodica Titeica said that it is an “exciting time” to be bringing its portfolio under one roof.

“AKQA Media have supported Subway over the last ten-years to help make the Subway Footlong famous again, our cookies front and centre and helped us promote new product innovations to all our Subway lovers.

“This decision was not taken lightly. We have shared amazing successes with AKQA Media, but it is time to pursue a different direction with Publicis Groupe and create an industry first in Brisbane”

Zenith Media’s CEO, Nickie Scriven said: “We are thrilled to be adding media to the successful partnership between Subway and Publicis, adding market leading media strategy, planning and buying to create a fully integrated offering to drive success and business growth.”

An AQKA Media spokesperson told Mumbrella: “We’ve enjoyed a strong and long-standing relationship with Subway for the past 11 years. We’re incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to work with a great global brand, with a first class local team to deliver some truly game changing work.  We would like to thank our AKQA Media team for their commitment to Subway and we wish the Subway team the best for the future.

Publicis Worldwide managing director, Simone Waugh said that after growing its relationship with Subway, it is “thrilled to be embarking on this next journey with them by integrating Zenith Media”.

“The partnership we are announcing with Subway is an industry first Power of One partnership in the Brisbane agency landscape. This model is proven by the Publicis Groupe to drive more integrated creative, data, technology, and media thinking to achieve cut-through and conversion through the consumer journey with more customers more often with more spend.”

Zentih Brisbane won the media account for Australian beverages brand, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, following a competitive pitch in August.

Last month, GroupM’s MediaCom won the media account for The Star Entertainment Group from AKQA Media, which is also part of WPP.

This story was updated after publishing, following a report that Essence had not in fact won the full service media account for Google locally.


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