Pitch Update: O2 and TfL pitches paused, BBC retains Havas Media Group

E.ON RFI submissions are due this week.

TfL: working with AAR
TfL: working with AAR

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O2 is the latest brand to pause its CRM review because of the coronavirus crisis. The telecoms brand has been working with AAR on the process, holding initial meetings with agencies in March using video-conferencing software. The brand has worked with Lida (which was rolled into M&C Saatchi in January) for nine years.

Transport for London’s ad review has also come to a halt as it focuses resource on "resuming our services when it becomes appropriate". Having held pitch presentations with Adam & Eve/DDB, M&C Saatchi, Ogilvy and incumbent VCCP in February, TfL had planned to appoint a winner in the spring. 

Miranda Leedham, head of customer marketing and behaviour change at TfL, said: "The responses were varied, with distinct strategic and creative approaches, and we therefore wish to conduct qualitative and quantitative research to provide audience-based insights into the proposals and support the decision-making process.

"However, as we all experience these uncertain times together, we do not think now is the right time to undertake this research, and we will also need the focus of our team and agency to be channelled on resuming our services when it becomes appropriate. We have therefore decided to pause the selection process until we reach a period of more certainty."

The statutory review began in August and is being run through the Official Journal of the European Union with the help of AAR.

Agencies vying for the E.ON ad account are submitting RFIs this week. The energy company is reviewing the account after five years of working with Engine, which is defending the business.


The BBC is set to retain Havas Media Group as its media planning and buying agency after a competitive pitch lasting several months. The broadcaster’s procurement department kicked off the review in August 2019 and has worked with Havas since 2015. Campaign understands that Havas beat the7stars and UM in the process, which was run by MediaSense. 

The account is worth £25m a year in agency fees and media budget, and the contract has been awarded for up to four years. Havas will work with the BBC to reach younger audiences through paid media channels as well as its owned media. A BBC spokesman said: "We expect to announce a successful bidder for this contract next month." Havas declined to comment.

VCCP has extended its remit with Mondelez International, picking up the creative account for Toblerone without a pitch. The brand is planning to launch a major global creative platform in 2021. VCCP was appointed lead global ad agency for Cadbury in 2017 and Maynards Bassetts and Green & Black’s in 2019. 

Emanuel Gävert, global brand lead for Toblerone, said: "[The collaboration] comes at an inflection point in the history of the brand and our belief is that VCCP will help us unleash the true potential of Toblerone to play an even more meaningful role in our consumers’ lives."

Yakult, the Japanese probiotic dairy drink manufacturer, has awarded its European ad account to Brothers and Sisters after a competitive pitch process that lasted six months. The account was previously handled by Quiet Storm, which took part in the review process.

Content marketing agency HDY has been appointed by luxury soap brand Bronnley as its retained creative marketing partner. This follows a non-competitive pitch, with no incumbent.

Wefarm, the digital platform for small-holder farmers, has picked BMB to work on updating its branding. There was no incumbent.