Woolworths looks at ‘smaller agencies’ including Ikon for media support

WoolworthsWoolworths is understood to be looking at a number of “smaller media agencies” as part of the review of its media account, Mumbrella can reveal.

While the majority of the $240m media account is expected to go to one of the four major agency groups on the shortlist, it is understood that Woolworths last week had presentations from Match Media, Bohemia and Ikon Communications.

All agencies contacted declined to comment on the pitch but it is thought that decision of Woolworths to look at smaller media agencies is driven by a desire to find a support agency to help with strategy on the account which is one of the biggest in Australia. 

Earlier this month Mumbrella revealed the shortlist would see incumbent Carat face off against challengers MediaCom, OMD and Starcom MediaVest.

The inclusion Ikon in the secondary agency list is likely to be seen as a blow to the once mighty agency which still has considerably larger billings than its other secondary counterparts, due to the likes of the Commonwealth Bank and Myer on its client list, but which has struggled in new business since the sacking of CEO Dan Johns this time last year.

Match Media is a well respected independent media agency which topped The Source’s 2013 Media Agency Review, while two year old insurgent Bohemia has been steadily picking up new business winning the media account for Vodafone off Ikon late last year.

Woolworths announced the highly anticipated review in early February with the main supermarket businesses as well as the liquor subsidiaries such as Dan Murphy’s, BWS, ALH, Langtons and Cellarmasters all included in the review.

Some media agencies were initially thought to be circumspect about entering a costly pitch process for what is a high churn and low margin client of this size. However, with more than $240m in billings at stake the account is seen as important in ensuring buying bulk for whichever agency wins it.

At the helm of the pitch is head of media Helen Lecopoulos, who moved from McDonalds to Woolworths back in November, one of a number of shake ups in the marketing department which occurred last year. It is thought she and the senior Woolworths marketing team along with managers of the various brands will vote on the decision, with the pitch being led by procurement.

All agencies involved in the pitch presented to the client last week.

Nic Christensen


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