The Prudential is one of the world’s biggest insurance companies but it isn’t an A-list advertiser. It might have been if its ambitious bid for bust US insurance giant AIG’s Asian business had gone ahead, but it didn’t.
So, confined (for now) to its UK heartland, it’s appointed independently-owned UK media agency John Ayling Associates to handle its £2m account, moving the business from WPP’s MediaCom, one of the two or three biggest media buying outfits in the world.
So how can MediaCom lose a piece of business like this? Well JAA is very good at what it does and both client and agency stress the value of ‘creative thinking’ in the decision to move. The implication being that MediaCom wasn’t so good at this. That it was just too big, and Prudential was too small, For MediaCom to occupy its brain cells on the client’s behalf.
Ayling could have sold out years ago to one of the big marcoms networks but he’s too independent and made a pile of cash 20 years ago by backing the formation of media agency PHD, now owned by Omnicom.
Could this be the start of a trend? Media clients going to smaller media agencies?
As one client told us recently, at least the smaller companies pick up the phone.