Starcom lands £65m BT media

LONDON - BT has handed its consolidated £65 million media planning and buying account to the Publicis agencies Starcom and Zed Media.

BT.. review
BT.. review
The appointment will surprise many in the industry, as WPP's Mediaedge:cia was hotly tipped to land the business after it captured BT's media planning account last August.

Starcom retains media buying duties while also adding the media planning brief. Zed Media, part of the ZenithOptimedia Group, will retain online buying.

The pitch, which was called by BT's head of media Steve Huddleston in October, was hotly contested. MEC, backed by the buying clout of Group M, seemed to gain the early momentum in the process.

However, senior figures in the BT marketing department are said to have been impressed by the Publicis approach and its ability to match Group M on price during the three month-long review.

Starcom's relationship with BT extends almost six years to when it landed the press buying business. In 2005 it won the TV buying account from the now defunct The Allmond Partnership. Zed has worked with BT since August 2005 when it won the online business after i-level resigned the account.

The loss of the planning brief comes just months after MEC hired the former PHD director and planner Stuart Bowden to run the business. Bowden had previously worked inhouse for BT on its media planning.

Outdoor buying, through Posterscope is unaffected, while Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO continues to handle creative for BT. BT's media strategy has evolved into a multi-platform one as it promotes its broadband products and innovations such as BT Vision.