TikTok mulls another UK media agency switch

Increasingly popular social app is set to end relationship with PHD in UK.

TikTok: TV ad featured Tom Daley
TikTok: TV ad featured Tom Daley

TikTok is reconsidering its media agency requirements in the UK, despite having already run two reviews in less than two years.

The rapidly growing social media platform, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been talking to agency groups about its media account in the UK and more broadly, a source familiar with the talks told Campaign.

TikTok appointed Omnicom’s PHD as its international media agency of record in August 2019. PHD was tasked with handling media buying in all markets except China, where TikTok does not operate. ByteDance runs a sister app called Douyin in that market.

However, that relationship was limited to a one-year contract in the UK to avoid a long-term conflict of interest, because PHD UK is the media agency for Twitter. 

That review had come within months of TikTok appointing Total Media in the UK, France and Germany in February 2019. TikTok had worked with Blue 499 up until then on a project basis.

The brand has been increasing its UK media investment over the past 12 months, having launched its first video-on-demand spots at the end of 2019, then its first linear TV ad in May. Social.Lab, a Belgian social marketing agency that is majority-owned by WPP's Ogilvy, created these ads.

ByteDance does not publish offical user numbers, but We Are Social and Hootsuite estimated in January that TikTok had 800 million monthly active users – more than than Twitter and Snapchat combined. 

TikTok did not return a request for comment. 

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