MTN Pitch/Business Review: The Intrigues, The Winners and the Upsets
In what has been like a business review taking forever, the MTN pitch cum business review may have finally produced winners with its incumbent and leading agency of record, DDB Lagos yet again leading the arsenal aftermath of the continental business review which featured Omnicom and archrivals, Publicis Groupe and Martin Sorrell’s WPP.
The MTN pitch result although announced at the beginning of the year at the continental level, the result was yet to cascade on the Nigerian market space in its full form until a few weeks ago when a glimpse of it emerged, however, a larger chunk of the of the implementation may topple the apple-cart especially in the PR segment of the Nigerian Integrated Marketing Communication community.
Winner takes all Reinforced
In February, we –BrandCrunch in an exclusive news, reported that the MTN pitch/business review produced Omnicom group, the parent company of the MTN’s incumbent agency in Nigeria, as the exclusive winner of the juicy MTN business across Africa.
The Omnicom group success at the MTN pitch compels the telecoms player entered into a partnership with Omnicom to manage the leading African telecoms brand across all markets and facets PR, Creative, Digital, Media. This makes it almost a fait accompli for the group’s local affiliates on ground in the country to “inherit” the various aspects of the business. But some upsets are necessary in markets with so much panache and education.
How the Creative Shops emerged
In the light of this, DDB Lagos, TBWA Concept and Yellow Brick Road all part of the Omnicom group in Nigeria were pushed forward and accepted to take full responsibilities for handing the MTN creative business in the Nigerian market and some aspects of the sub-region.
Another source close to us told BrandCrunch that with vast experiences on the business prior to the pitch, DDB will be handling the about 50% of the brief which is likely to involve the client’s new focus on the teenage market outside its popular youth segment. TBWA/Concept will handle about 30% while Yellow Brick Road takes on about 20% of the portfolio.
While these may not be casted in stone, each of the purported sharing formula is quite a handful and big enough to keep any agency busy round the year.
The sharing may not be as sharp and distinctive as alleged above, as another respondent hinted that the business was won by the Omnicom group as an integrated support business that covers creative, media and digital among others. Hence, the likelihood that all three creative advertising shops will most likely work hand-in hand to ensure the success of the client and the brand is central.
And the Media Goes to IMS
Similarly, PHD Media, a member of the George Thorpe’s IMS group and popular media ReachOMD’s second-line specialist media agency, added the media aspect of the business to its kitty while Playhouse, a digital specialist shop goes home with the digital facet of the business, all for the sole reason of being local partners of Omnicom group.
While investigations focused on the winning agencies reveal skilling up exercises and still putting the necessary things in place while work has commenced in earnest same cannot be said the of the PR aspect of the business.
PR Agencies Loosing out? Not altogether but an Upset
If the business is won and lost by the juggernauts of Omnicoms, Publicis and WPP as a totally integrated marketing support services, what will be the lot of the PR aspect of the business?
Although, the MTN’s incumbents PR agencies might still have subsisting contracts which is likely to run till about December, industry watchers anticipate the business re-alignment will cover Public Relations as well.
Therefore, enthusiastic watchers anticipate the client gets across to Omnicom PR agencies in Nigeria for pre engagement talks and discussions if there is really a relationship to nurture between the parties.
Popular Omnicom PR agencies in Nigeria include famous Corporate & Financial Porter Novelli, Media Craft Fleishman Hilliard. Outside are Magna Carta in South Africa and Ketchum PR based in London. These agencies are captured under the Diversified Agency Services (DAS). Although, Nigeria’s JSP used to be a part of the WPP group but in the course of the findings, a source informed that the agency might have been presented to the client for the PR aspect of the business but the client declined!
PR Apple’s cart on the thumble
Following the Omnicom –MTN’s relationship, two reasons might be adduced for the locking out PR while other beneficiaries are starting work on the new business. It is possible that the client may not come to terms with the current Omnicom’s PR agencies in the country and of course due to subsisting contracts mentioned above.
From the two, the most likely is that the client being a market leader with vast experience in the Nigerian market, may have rejected list of PR agencies put forward by the global Omnicom team. This might just have been Fleishman and Porter Novelli’s agencies’ Achilles heel business realignment exercise. To fill in the vacuum, investigations reveal Omnicom is currently engaging two Nigerian non-aligned PR agencies, XLR8 and Black House Media. These may be presented to the client at some point if the talks end well. Nothing on the radar however suggests otherwise. It infers that the client may have tactically declined the known Omnicom PR agencies at one point in the talks with the global agency to necessitate the need to shop around for viable agencies acceptable to the client.
Expect New Partnerships/Affiliations
If these permutations work, we may be greeted with another wave of affiliation consummations in the Nigerian market. It’s either both Fleishman and Porter Novelli review their current relationships or Omnicom’s Ketchum and Magna Carter are brought into the country each in association with either of XLR8 or BHM to formally seal the PR aspect of the business for a complete take-over of the entire MTN’s IMC chain by Omnicom.
The analysis here on the MTN pitch which tallies with the suggestions by people in the know holds that it is not enough to be affiliated with a global network, the local business must be seen to be a revolutionary force in its chosen field and also operates on the cutting edge of knowledge and top notch propositions in its local market.