Word reaches me that Aegis’ Carat has just lost one of France’s biggest media accounts to WPP’s Mindshare. SFR, the mobile phone carrier owned by Vivendi, has a media budget of about €150m (£120m). Overall, it is one of France’s biggest advertisers, ahead of Orange, but behind Renault, which has a total budget of about €300m.
For WPP, it’s second time lucky. In 2009 a joint-ticket of Mediaedge/CIA and Mediacom got into the final frame of a review, but was seen off by Carat, which has now been the incumbent agency for about 15 years. OMD and Zenith-Optimedia also participated in the 2009 pitch. It is not known whether other agencies were involved in the current one.
SFR, which offers fixed line, mobile and broadband services, spends the biggest part of its advertising budget on television – about €92m last year. Next comes outdoor, with a spend of €65m, then digital, with €62m.
Separately, Carat will have been shaken by the news that Joel Ewanick, the man responsible for placing General Motors’ $3bn global media account in their hands has been abruptly fired by his company.
Earlier last week, John Gaffney, who led Carat’s North American GM account out of Detroit, quit the media agency. The circumstances surrounding Gaffney’s departure are unclear. Some sources maintain his departure was related to client dissatisfaction with Carat’s performance. Others more directly connected to the situation insist Gaffney’s exit was not directly related to performance on the GM assignment.