I see that Vodafone has moved its £600m/800m media account, take your choice, into WPP’s GroupM – which must be about the least surprising account move in the history of account moves.
The business, which had been with Omnicom’s OMD for about 20 years, will be handled by a combo of WPP media agency MEC and a new ‘Team Red Media’ Unit. Team Red being WPP’s groovy new entity for Vodafone’s business.
Why the least surprising account move? Well, WPP appears to have established an iron grip on the Vodafone account, with its creative account being the sole preserve of WPP agencies. Two years ago Vodafone held a ‘closed’ pitch involving just WPP agencies for its creative account in the UK. That eventually went to RKCR/Y&R and then, when its ‘Yoda’ campaign failed to score, moved to WPP sibling Grey. WPP handles creative in most other places.
GroupM (which does most of the negotiating deals for Maxus, MEC, MediaCom and Mindshare) pitched against Dentsu’s Aegis at the death. But although Aegis (via its hard-nosed Carat network) has a habit of nicking some of these biggies, like General Motors’ $3bn global media account, this was surely always going to go WPP’s way.
Will Vodafone now, finally, start to produce some decent advertising? That’s obviously more of a task for the creative than the media agency.
Vodafone’s latest UK stuff starts off quite promisingly, playing on the company’s heritage as the military’s network of choice (Vodafone used to be Racal, which supplied ‘over and out’ services to soldiers and spooks).
But then disappears up its own orifice by deciding it needs to repeat its ghastly ‘Power To You’ slogan.
A really good account man might have suggested, firmly: “You’re overdoing it, chaps.”
Can WPP and, indeed, media winner MEC persuade Vodafone to stop doing advertising by numbers? Power to them…