UM loses out as Mitchells wins $137m federal government media account

Mitchell & Partners has won the hotly contest federal gaustralian federal governmentovernment master media account, Mumbrella can reveal.

The decision on the $137m media pitch is a major blow to media agency UM which, despite a number of wins in recent months including the Coca-Cola media account, will see a major fall in its billings as a result of this decision.

The federal government has this afternoon confirmed that Mitchells, in partnership with Adcorp, will commence work on the account from July 1 overseeing all campaign and non-campaign media expenditure.

“I am pleased to announce that Mitchell and Partners Australia Pty Ltd (Mitchells) has been appointed as the Australian Government’s master media agency for an initial period of four years. Mitchells was awarded the contract following a competitive open tender process undertaken by the Department of Finance, which was overseen by industry, probity and legal advisers,” said John Sheridan, procurement coordinator, Australian Government Information Management Office in a statement.

Luke Littlefield, CEO of Mitchells’ parent company Dentsu Aegis Network, said they were thrilled with the major account win for an agency which has been seeking to redefine itself over the last eight months since the retirement of its founder Harold Mitchell.

He added: “We are absolutely thrilled that Mitchells has been successful in pitching for the Australian Government contract. We are delighted that our talented team; our proven expertise and track record with Government clients; and our commitment to delivering exceptional client service have given Mitchells the opportunity to work with one of the most important and prominent clients in the country.”

The account win is a major boost for Mitchells, increasing its current $300m-worth of billings by 50 per cent. Despite having been one of the biggest agencies before Mitchell’s departure last August Aegis has moved many of its larger multinational clients to sister agency Carat.

Kenny Stewart, CEO of Mitchells, said: “Mitchells has a proud history in working with major and complex clients and gGovernment bodies, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to assist the Australian Government in its communications and promotion of this wonderful country.

“With this appointment, our strength in strategically-led convergent planning, our best practice tools and research models, and our proven track record with major Government clients has been recognised. We have an extremely strong leadership team in place and extensive talent within the agency across diverse communications specialities, and it’s a fantastic reflection on Mitchells that the Australian Government has confidence in our ability to handle this work.”

The appointment of Mitchells will come as a surprise to many in the industry, with Carat thought to have been on the shortlist along with incumbent UM, MediaCom and ZenithOptimedia for the account, one of Australia’s largest.

“We’ve had the business for 11 years and I think we’ve done some pretty great work together,” said Mat Baxter, CEO of UM. “The team is a fantastic team and we’re obviously disappointed by the news but we respect decision and wish the client and Mitchells every success.”

Adcorp is understood to be managing the government’s non-campaign advertising needs and are the incumbent on this component of the contract.

Adcorp CEO, David Morrison said: “Our collaboration with Mitchell & Partners brings together two experts in our respective fields and we are very confident that the combined expertise of our organisations will deliver streamlined and innovative service offerings to the AustralianGovernment.”

Nic Christensen 


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