WPP on the spot as Shell and HSBC review

Is another big global review of creative and media a story these days? As everyone’s doing it. It’s the business version of chairman Mao’s permanent revolution.

No wonder agencies never seem to achieve that much these days, they’re too busy pitching.

Out of the blocks today are Shell, reportedly reviewing its £200m creative and media accounts at JWT and Mindshare respectively and HSBC reviewing its £400m global account at MediaCom, all WPP companies.

All of which won’t have escaped the attention of WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell who’s been battling big snowflakes in Davos as well as dealing with the fall-out from WPP’s involvement in the notorious Presidents Club Charity Dinner.

JWT has handled Shell for decades, recently winning lots of online views with a campaign plugging energy saving. JWT says it plans to repitch.

Why so many reviews? On the media front it’s surely a consequence of the Association of National Advertisiers (ANA) report in the US a while back which said that some media agencies (un-named in the report) were trousering undisclosed media rebates. Elsewhere it’s probably the march of the consultants; both pitch consultants of whom there seems to be never-ending list, and the big management consultancies who are invading the agency space. Each time a major advertiser announces a review it’s usually in search of “digital transformation’ or some such, straight off the consultancies’ hymn sheet.

So we’ll see. But two such important and long-standing accounts reviewing out of WPP is hardly good news for the world’s biggest holding company.

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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.

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