O2 and Virgin Media eye marketing savings from £31bn merger

Brands spent combined £102m on advertising in 2019.

Virgin Media: Adam & Eve/DDB works on advertising
Virgin Media: Adam & Eve/DDB works on advertising

The  £31bn O2 and Virgin Media merger will create a new top five advertiser in the UK that is looking to make savings in marketing.

The deal, which was announced this morning (Thursday), noted that there will be a "reduction in combined marketing expenditures".

O2’s owner, Telefónica, added that the merger does not necessarily mean that these synergies will lead to a single brand strategy, although this will be evaluated in the future.

According to Nielsen figures, Virgin Media and O2 together spent £102m on advertising in 2019. This would put the merged entity in fifth place (ahead of BT) when looking at brands in terms of adspend.

In 2019, Virgin Media spent £60.9m, making it the 15th biggest advertiser in the UK, with the bulk of its spend on TV. O2 spent £41.6m last year, putting it in 30th place, with out-of-home its main marketing channel.

Virgin Media works with Adam & Eve/DDB on advertising, Manning Gottlieb OMD on media and Rapp on CRM.

VCCP and Havas Media handle O2’s above-the-line and media accounts respectively. O2 uses M&C Saatchi for CRM but that business is currently up for review.

Campaign reported in March that Sky was the biggest ad spender in 2019 at £178.8m. This was followed by McDonald’s at £155.6m, Procter & Gamble at £137.5m, Amazon at £113.9m and BT at £87.3m.

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