News International has made its choice from the WPP agencies involved in the closed pitch for its business and the winners are: Grey, M/SIX (formerly CHI Media), Ogilvy One (direct) and Ogilvy Change (‘behavioural science’ apparently). WPP losers are creative agency CHI, which handled The Times, and media agency Mindshare which had The Times and the Sun. WCRS formerly handled Sun creative work.
Katie Vanneck-Smith, chief marketing officer of News International CM Katie Vanneck-Smith says: “We were impressed by the high calibre of all WPP agencies involved in the pitch. This process has highlighted a great mix of talent, innovation and genuinely new ideas that our business and brands will embrace for the future.”
News International could certainly do with some new ideas of course; it’s still reeling from the closure of the highly-profitable News of the World in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. Since then ultimate boss Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation has jetted over to London to launch a new edition of the Sun on Sunday in about a week but the Sunday Sun’s sales have slipped to near two million from an opening 3.2m.
And there are more phone hacking and payments to police revelations to come, unless London’s Metropolitan Police decide not to charge any of the 20 or so News International executives and journalists they have arrested (former News CEO Rebekah Brooks has been arrested twice).
So it will be interesting to see what ‘Team News,’ as the WPP collective is called, comes up with. Is the right approach to go for a big, bold marketing campaign as though nothing’s happened? Or a rather different campaign that acknowledges the sins of the recent past? Or just reach for a tin hat and hunker down?
Those no doubt clever people at Ogilvy Change (Ogilvy Group vice-chairman Rory Sutherland seems to be one of them, and he is clever) will surely get the opportunity to show what they’re made of.