Sainsbury’s rethinks m/SIX media win

We all thought the Sainsbury’s consolidated media account worth £115m – it now owns Argus too – had gone to The&Partnership’s m/SIX media agency with Sainsbury’s moving from Omnicom’s PHD and Argos from WPP’s Mindshare. T&P is 49 per cent owned by WPP and m/SIX (below) uses WPP’s GroupM for some of the media heavy lifting.

But now Campaign’s Gideon Spanier reports that Omnicom has complained to Sainsbury’s that the pitch was not conducted fairly although we don’t know the precise details. Sainsbury’s, which informed m/SIX that it had won but made no public statement, says the process is “ongoing.” Sainsbury’s has a formal complaints procedure for suppliers although it’s highly unusual for such procedures to be used in agency reviews, anywhere. WPP did fight such a decision a few years back when it lost the UK government media business to Carat. The case went to court but the business still went to Carat.

This is all very embarrassing for Sainsbury’s and Johnny Hornby’s m/SIX which seemed to have broken into the big time with the Sainsbury’s/Argos win. T&P’s CHI handles Argos creative.

Omnicom’s AMV BBDO lost Sainsbury’s creative to Wieden+Kennedy last year after 40 years (PHD handled the retailer for about 20). Omnicom, AMV and now, it seems, PHD don’t give up easily and Sainsbury’s can expect to receive constant reminders of what they’re missing. This re-booted media review takes things a bit further though.

It will be interesting to see if Sainsbury’s goes outside its roster media agencies as the big review embarks on a surprise second lap.

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