Pitch Update: Publicis tops JPMorgan new biz rankings with ‘major’ reviews upcoming

Virgin Media O2, Dreams and Starbucks are brewing reviews, while others have picked their winners.

Clockwise from top left: Virgin Media O2, Starbucks, Dreams and Giffgaff
Clockwise from top left: Virgin Media O2, Starbucks, Dreams and Giffgaff

Publicis Groupe has come top of the rankings among the big six agency groups so far this year in JPMorgan’s regular round-up of new-business reviews across creative and media.

A research note from the US investment bank cited Publicis’ recent media wins, including ABInBev across most of the world, PepsiCo in China and LVMH in the UK and France, up until the end of April 2022.

“Other major account reviews still in process include Nike media, Burger King media/creative, Kohl’s media, Crocs, HBO Max creative, and Ekaterra media,” JPMorgan said.

The busy new-biz market fits with what agency groups have been saying – despite global economic uncertainty and fears of a slowdown because of inflation.

Mark Read, the chief executive of WPP, told Campaign that “there’s still a healthy new-business pipeline” after a surge in activity in 2021 and it is “close to where it was this time last year”.

Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman of S4 Capital, was also bullish. “Encouragingly, our current pipeline is proportionally ahead of last year's level following a fast start to 2022,” he told investors at the company’s delayed annual results.

Reviews

Virgin Media O2 is calling for another review following its £31bn O2 and Virgin Media merger. The telecoms giant is now on the hunt for a lead customer marketing agency, an account that was previously handled by M&C Saatchi, Oliver and Rapp.

O2 appointed Lida, which later merged with M&C Saatchi, as its direct marketing agency in 2011 after a three-way pitch. Meanwhile, Rapp was Virgin Media's CRM incumbent and the agency has confirmed it will be repitching for the account. Virgin Media O2 announced a review of its media account in April, and VCCP won its creative account against Adam & Eve/DDB in March. 

Starbucks is currently brewing up a review of its EMEA lead strategic and creative agency in a pitch process handled by Creativebrief. The coffeehouse chain plans on prioritising Gen Z in its refreshed strategy.

Iris was the incumbent and the shop behind Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising Award-winner "What’s your name" in 2020. The ad told the story of a young trans man grappling with the challenges of transitioning and trialling his new name during his Starbucks order. Iris declined to comment on the review. 

Bed retailer Dreams has launched a review of its creative account after parting ways with Uncommon Creative Studio across strategic and creative. The review is run by management consultant Hamilton Associates International.

Uncommon got into bed with Dreams in 2019 after it was appointed as the brand’s lead creative agency following a competitive pitch. The agency told Campaign that the split was amicable.

Wins

Plant-based drinks company Califia Farms has appointed Bountiful Cow to handle media planning and buying in the UK without a formal pitch process. Previously, the brand handled its media in-house.

Bountiful Cow is, ironically, building up quite the roster of plant-based brands, which now also includes VFC, Meatless Farm and Tofoo.

Giffgaff has called up Neverland to be its lead brand strategy and creative agency following a competitive pitch. The shop will have the responsibility for creating a new brand strategy, positioning and communications, resulting in a new campaign set to break later this year. The brand previously worked with Stink Studios on the £10.9m account across a series of campaigns. 

Food sharing app Olio has picked Otherway to evolve the brand’s strategy and positioning, rebrand and launch its new look in comms to the UK market. The appointment follows a four-way competitive pitch. 

Yorkshire-based digital marketing agency Extreme has hoovered up its competition, winning a pitch to handle marketing for Numatic International’s Henry vacuum brand. The full-service team has been retained to focus on Henry’s SEO, pay per click and paid social advertising. 

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