ZenithOptimedia will not contest Lion media review as rivals line up for pitch

lionMedia agency ZenithOptimedia (ZO) will not participate in the review of the $35-$40m media account for Lion’s alcohol brands, Mumbrella can reveal.

The agency has held the account since 2008 but this morning CEO Ian Perrin confirmed it will not participate in the review for multi-million dollar account. He declined to discuss the reasons for the decision.

The decision comes only days before the deadline for agency submissions for the review with a selection of network agencies thought to be on the shortlist including: OMD, Carat, MEC and Initiative.

In a surprise move, independent data-led agency, Bohemia is also thought to be involved in the pitch. However all agencies contacted declined to comment on the pitch.

While the reasons for ZO’s withdrawal are unclear the move comes as concern about media agencies being forced to heavily discount their rates to win business intensifies. Late last year Mumbrella understands a number of media owners rejected briefs following one major pitch arguing that the rate offer was not reasonable.

The move comes just a month after rival MediaCom withdrew from the Pacific Brands pitch arguing the two business were “no longer aligned” with MediaCom’s global CEO Stephen Allan last week telling Mumbrella Asia the business was “unprofitable” and urging competitors not to engage in a “race to the bottom” if the industry is to survive.

Mumbrella revealed Lion was pitching its business last month, with Matt Tapper, national marketing director of Lion – beer, spirits & wine Australia saying: “We are currently reviewing the media support for our business, which will include a pitch process over the coming months.

“Over the past twelve years we have been fortunate to enjoy a rewarding relationship with ZenithOptimedia and for our teams to deliver some innovative and award-winning campaigns together.

“During this period our portfolio of great brands has also significantly expanded and diversified, and our operating environment has changed so we feel this review is timely.”

Lion has not commented at the time of publication.

Nic Christensen


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