Most Read: Controversial Pitches of 2017 and Business Reviews
The year 2017 has gone but the year didn’t just go without leaving imprints in the Nigerian integrated Marketing Communication community as regards controversial pitches of 2017 and business reviews that left the industry and or individual agencies altered for good or for bad.
The MTN multi million global business review, the new 9Mobile ‘phony’ pitch, and the Nigerian Breweries’ PR business review made headlines and the former being the most read. It’s 3-part series, multi-level pitches provided interesting lessons for the industry and players – clients and agencies alike.
The biggest of the pitches in the just ended year, 2017, unarguably remains the MTN global review with Nigerian agencies as the major beneficiaries.
The RFP for the review commenced sometimes in 2016 from the MTN South African’s base requesting the global networks with tentacles across its main coverage across the vast African markets to apply for the business.
Possibly, the first time a multinational brand will be committing the entirety of all gamut of its marketing and communications requirements to a range of shops courtesy of their alignment a global network, at least in the massive scale as being witnessed.
The business which could easily pass as the most juicy on the continent, attracted the best and influential networks like Omnicom Group, Dentsu Aegis Network, Havas and Interpublic Group, Publicis Groupe and WPP.
The last three shortlisted for the real contest for the business that spans across 22 countries across Africa include Omnicom Group, WPP and French’s Publicis Groupe. These three has massive followership in affiliates and partners in Nigeria save for WPP whose relationship with its Prima Garnet and later Scand Nigeria was frozen no thanks to legal battle instituted against Ogilvy Africa by Lolu Akinwunmi’s Prima Garnet.
The Omnicom network emerged victorious beating arch rivals Publicis and famous WPP to the juicy pie on a continental pitch. The development threw up DDB Lagos, the Nigerian incumbent on the business and respected affiliate of the Omnicom Group as lead agency on the business once again. Talking about Nigerian rival advertising holding groups rivalries, this was one pitch in which the Insight Publicis was expected to take it out on its arch rival DDB Lagos as regards the MTN business however, the result points in the direction that Insight and partner, Publicis will have to endure another round of waiting.
BrandCrunch reported November last year that 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.
In the light of this, DDB Lagos, TBWA Concept and Yellow Brick Road all part of the Omnicom group in Nigeria became the de-facto handlers of the MTN business in Nigeria with very good probability of working for the brand beyond the Nigerian market.
Likewise, PHD Media, a member of the George Thorpe’s IMS group and ReachOMD’s second-line specialist media agency was handed over the media aspect of the business 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.
The greatest glitch however occurred as the PR apple cart was toppled, the existing Omnicom group PR agencies in Nigeria pre 2017 were refused access to the juicy business. Brandcrunch reported, “However, as the media, creative and digital sector of the business were given out to existing Omnicom local partners, PR segment was left out”.
PR agencies affected in this ‘infamous’ decision were famous Corporate & Financial Porter Novelli and Media Craft Fleishman Hilliard.
Between the Omnicom group and the client, MTN, Ayeni Adekunle’s Black House Media (BHM) and Calixthus which was once hunted by PRCAN as “Unregistered agency” were brought in and substituted for the former two. Representatives BHM and XLR8 were in South Africa last December as part of their induction into the network of course of along with other beneficiaries of the Omnicom the largesse.
This stands as the Brandcrunch’s pitch of 2017 that altered the industry’s graphs.
Also talking about impact, the Nigerian Breweries reviewed its PR business towards the end of 2017. One the agencies on the business were many and it managed to weed them to two.
The pitch featured Red Media, TPT International, BHM, Hill & Knowlton Strategies and The Quadrant MSL. Keenly contested, the pitched produced BHM winning the brands PR and TPT winning the Nigerian Breweries corporate PR business. If anything, this pitch is throwing up young BHM as the busiest PR shop. This is in view of the fact that the agency is expected to resume of the MTN Business this quarter. The Quadrant would have gone in to wrestle the business to shore up its portfolio and better its earning. But that was not to be, ditto for international shop, HK Strategies while it was a straight loss to Red Media, an incumbent on the business.
BrandCrunch’s second place runner up is the “phony” 9Mobile pitch. The yet to be held pitch was reported in this Thisday of August, 2017. The review was intended to stylishly negotiate down the telecom company’s retainers for its agencies owing to its current precarious situation as was later discovered. The new CEO, Boye Olusanya revealed his new mandate to save funds. “Our mandate is to make sure the business runs as profitable as it can. What is most important now is to ensure that the business runs and meets its obligations” led to the renegotiation bid.
Although, the pitch is yet to hold, but it added a new dimension to the industry to client-agency relationships as the lead agency on the business, X3M Ideas announced its resignation of the business. Yes, agencies have been resigning two-penny accounts before, it is the first time a Nigerian agency would look a top client/ heavy spender in the face and say, “You know what? Here is my resignation”. It’s reasons revolves around mutual respect and world-class treatment for agencies rather than the age-long master-servant style. In a related development, X3M Ideas has signed for rival network, Globacom as one of its roster agencies. Not a real pitch but its effect for our board of editors, qualifies this for pitch of 2017.
These are our picks in pitches of 2017 and business reviews as first part of our industry reviews for the just concluded 2017. More later.