Zenith scoops Lloyds Banking Group media account

WPP has looked after UK's biggest retail bank for 12 years.

Lloyds: appointed Zenith following statutory review
Lloyds: appointed Zenith following statutory review

Lloyds Banking Group, the UK's largest retail bank, has appointed Zenith as its media agency of record following a competitive pitch, which included the incumbent, MediaCom.

Zenith, part of Publicis Groupe, will handle media planning and buying for all of Lloyds Banking Group’s brands, including Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows and MBNA.

Lloyds Banking Group praised the “media, digital and data capabilities of Zenith”, and it is thought the agency drew on Epsilon, Publicis Groupe’s data business, as part of its offer.

Publicis Sapient, the digital transformation and consulting arm of Publicis Groupe, already has a longstanding relationship with Lloyds Banking Group but it is understood that had no influence on the media pitch, which was a three-year statutory review.

Lloyds Banking Group invests an estimated £80m a year on media. The company spent a total of £187m on advertising and promotion in 2020, up by 10% on the £170m cost of advertising and promotion in 2019, according to the annual report. 

The decision to move the account to Zenith from January 2022 means the end of a 12-year media relationship with WPP’s Group M, the parent company of MediaCom.

MEC won the account in 2009 in a consolidation following the Lloyds-HBOS merger, before Group M set up Greenhouse, a bespoke media agency unit for Lloyds Banking Group in 2015, and then MediaCom won the client following another review in 2018.

Zenith previously handled the Lloyds TSB part of the account before the 2009 consolidation.

Catherine Kehoe, chief customer officer for Lloyds Banking Group, said: “The media landscape is undergoing rapid change and brands need the most advanced thinking in order to effectively and efficiently communicate with audiences.

“We were very impressed by the media, digital and data capabilities of Zenith and look forward to working with them.”

“I’d like to thank both MediaCom and Group M, with whom we have worked successfully for several years, for their dedication and support. They have been a hugely valued partner.”

Natalie Cummins, UK chief executive of Zenith, said: ‘‘Lloyds Banking Group came to us with a big but simple challenge, about navigating a vastly changed media world. We had a single-minded approach, proved out over the course of the review.”

She added she was “so happy to be working with this brilliant client, who inspired us to do our very best work”.

Zenith previously handled the estimated £27m media account of rival NatWest Group, the owner of Royal Bank of Scotland, for almost a decade until earlier this year when Initiative won the business.

Ebiquity advised Lloyds Banking Group on the review and has been appointed as media auditor from next year.

Campaign first revealed in September that the bank was reviewing media.

Client has been shaking up its marketing operations

Lloyds Banking Group has been shaking up other parts of its internal and external marketing operations in the last two years as it looks to bring marketing communications and customer experience closer.

Kehoe was promoted from group managing director of brands and marketing to the newly created role of chief customer officer at the start of 2020.

Later in the year, Lloyds Banking Group moved Halifax’s advertising account to start-up New Commercial Arts from Adam&Eve/DDB, which kept the Lloyds brand.

Kehoe said at the time: “The most successful modern brands are defined by an alchemy between strategy, experience and communications.”

Lloyds Banking Group went on to launch an in-house creative agency called Beehive in 2021 to make savings and adopt a faster and more dynamic approach to customer comms, although the bank stressed the roles of Adam & Eve/DDB and NCA were unaffected. Havas Helia has handled CRM since 2019.

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