ZO chief Ian Perrin pens open letter to rival in bid to end ‘vicious cycle’ of bitterness

Ian Perrin

Ian Perrin

The chief executive of ZenithOptimedia has publicly congratulated rival media agency MEC on wrestling Nestlé from its grasp in an attempt to end the “vicious cycle” of bitterness which he said usually accompanies such business losses.

Ian Perrin has sent an open letter to his counterpart, Peter Vogel, admitting the “best team won” and acknowledging how Nestlé ran an “open and ethical process”.

Too often after losing accounts, media agencies behave ungraciously and raise question marks over the ethical behaviour of the winning agency, Perrin said. In some cases, he claimed “people punch each other” – although he didn’t elaborate.

Perrin described the letter as a “somewhat feeble attempt to break this vicious cycle”.

The pitch saw three agencies,  incumbent ZO, along with GroupM agencies MEC and Mediacom pitch for the account which included the media strategy, planning and buying for all its brands including Kit Kat, Nescafé, Milo and Maggi. Nestlé yesterday confirmed MEC as the victor.

The letter in full:

An open letter to Peter Vogel, CEO MEC

Hi Pete,

One of my biggest frustrations in our industry is the reaction that many media agencies have towards losing business. They leak stories to the media about how the pitch was won on fake promises, how the winning agency undermined them with the client, and of course how they dropped their pants. Occasionally people punch other people in a bar.

So in a somewhat feeble attempt to break this vicious cycle, I wanted to publically congratulate you on winning Nestlé from us. They have been a passionate, reasonable and committed partner for over a decade, and I am envious that you will be working on their great brands. They ran a fair and ethical process which was not overly onerous in terms of time spent or delivery required. In this case the best team won, so congratulations. You beat us this time, but we have beaten you before, and will strive to do so again.

I genuinely wish you and your team well, and I hope that you are partying hard over what is a fantastic win.



Steve Jones


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