Vodafone sticks with WPP as it moves £50m account from Grey to Ogilvy

Vodafone, whose last two agencies were WPP stablemates RKCR/Y&R and Grey, is moving its £50m UK creative account to WPP’s Ogilvy.

Vodafone began talking to agencies late last year, letting it be known that thsese would not be confined to WPP. But WPP it is with Ogilvy although, it seems, a pitch was involved.

Ogilvy will set up a UK branch of WPP’s ‘Team Red’ in its new South Bank HQ.

All of which suggest that we won’t see any dramatic changes with Vodafone’s oppressive red logo and ‘Power to you’ dominating proceedings although Ogilvy, with former BBH man Charlie Rudd at the helm, may have other ideas. WPP’s MEC has handled Vodafone’s £600m global media since 2014, which gives the holding company a fair old purchase on the account.

Vodafone’s newish UK commercial director Glafkos Persianis has said he wants the company’s advertising to focus on its core mobile services rather than extra add-ons which should be a challenge for Ogilvy as, judging by Vodafone’s high ranking in the complaints table, they aren’t all that good.

But it’s a big opportunity for Rudd and new CCO Mick Mahoney (formerly of RKCR/Y&R) all the same. Althopugh Ogilvy has been the big network winner at Cannes for the last few years it has signally failed to sparkle in the UK, acting chiefly as a hub for big global accounts including Ford and American Express.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.