Pitch Update: new business bonanza with Asda, Unilever, BA, Tetley and Twinings

UM wins Honda's European media.

Clockwise from top left: Asda, BA, Twinings, Tetley
Clockwise from top left: Asda, BA, Twinings, Tetley


Asda has started talking to creative agencies, putting incumbent Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO on alert. An Asda spokesman said: "As the needs of our customers – and the way we talk to them continue to evolve and change, we have taken the decision to retender our lead creative agency, in a pitch process starting later this month.”

Unilever is preparing to call an international media buying review, which is likely to be one of the largest pitches of the year. Industry sources expect Unilever to carry out the review in many key markets around the world. A spokesman for Unilever declined to comment on what it called “speculation” and did not confirm whether it plans a media review. Unilever is one of the world’s biggest advertisers, with a €7.27bn (£6.33bn) annual spend on brand and marketing investment before the coronavirus pandemic.

Two of the UK's big four tea brands are searching for new creative agencies. Twinings is on the hunt after parting ways with incumbent M&C Saatchi, which has worked with the brand for two years. The tea brand is set to hold chemistry meetings over the coming weeks, and M&C Saatchi is not repitching for the business.

Tetley, meanwhile, is searching for a new creative agency, having mutually parted ways with Spark44 after three years. Tetley is working with AAR on the review process and is holding chemistry meetings this week in the expectation of making an appointment in the spring.

British Airways' owner, International Airways Group, is reviewing its global agency relationships in a bid for "further alignment" among its partners. IAG sent out an RFI to agencies earlier this week. Its current agency contracts expire in the first three months of 2022. In May 2017 BA appointed WPP to its media planning, strategy and buying; creative services; social media; paid search; affiliates; and production business. Ogilvy and Wavemaker are the lead creative and media agencies respectively working on the account.

Dutch multinational health electronics company Philips is kicking off a $300m global agency review. Philips has invited at least four global holding companies to participate with integrated teams, including Interpublic Group, Dentsu, WPP and MDC Partners, according to agency sources. Carat has held a significant portion of Philips’ media business, and is defending the account. WPP’s Wavemaker also has a small piece of the digital media business. WPP’s Ogilvy has worked on Philips’ creative account since 2011. 


Honda has awarded its media planning and buying account in Europe to UM after a six-month competitive pitch process, ending a five-year relationship with Dentsu. UM will take over the business, worth an estimated £50m, across all the Japanese car brand's European markets on 1 April. The pitch process was run by MediaSense and had a significant focus on integrated data solutions and digital transformation.

The British Business Bank, the UK’s economic development bank, has appointed UM Birmingham to manage its media planning and buying for all of its brand and performance activity, following a competitive tender. Previously, Engine handled planning, while Manning Gottlieb OMD and Merkle handled buying. 

Total Media has today been appointed by veterinarian joint supplement brand YuMove to its UK media account, following a competitive process run by IMA International, against four other agencies. Total Media will work alongside US agency Modco, which is part of Total’s international network of independent agencies. The incumbent on the account was John Ayling & Associates.

Hearts & Science has been appointed as media agency of record for Ramsbury Single Estate spirits following a competitive pitch. There was no incumbent. The brand is launching products in Waitrose next month.


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