Woolworths media pitch decision expected mid-August, after board meeting

WoolworthsA decision on the Woolworths media pitch is understood to be likely by the middle of August following a meeting of the board, Mumbrella understands.

The pitch for one of the biggest media accounts in Australia, worth an estimated $240m, has been going on since February and now sees incumbent Carat facing off against OMD and Mediacom. Independent agencies Match Media and Bohemia are also thought to be part of the pitch in a strategy/support role.

The closely watched pitch was tipped to have been decided by Easter, but has had multiple extensions since the supermarket bought in a new marketing chief in Tony Phillips in March. Sources have told Mumbrella that a decision is now likely within the next fortnight, which will then be ratified by the board.

A spokesman for Woolworths yesterday declined to comment.

Head of media Helen Lecopoulos, who moved from McDonalds to Woolworths last November had been driving the pitch, however, the process became more complicated in March following the appointment of Phillips as CMO of the supermarkets section of the business from arch rivals Coles.

Phillips is thought to be have been a strong advocated of the business remaining with the incumbent Carat, which inherited the business from sister agency Mitchell & Co under a business restructure by parent company Aegis Media, while others such as Lecopoulos are understood to have advocated for a move.

In May a grenade was also thrown in the process after The Australian ran an article suggesting that the business would stay with Carat for one year. The article suggested Phillips wanted to eventually move the media business to IPG Mediabrands, which is not involved in the pitch due to the conflict it has with UM representing rival Coles.

Woolworths later denied that there had been any change to the pitch and said that the contract would be for three years. The drawn out process has fuelled speculation that the retailer would pay the unsuccessful agencies compensation, given the thousands of staff hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested.

Nic Christensen 


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