No merci for UM as Fiat US moves to Starcom, Hearts & Science snaps up GoCompare.com from Carat

A Publicis Groupe combo of Starcom and SapientRazorfish has won Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ media account, said to be the biggest to move in North America this year. Starcom beat incumbent UM and Omnicom’s Hearts & Science to the business. It was UM’s biggest account and the Interpublic-owned agency says it doesn’t know why it lost it.

The reason may have something to do with reported client demands for 120 day payment terms (apparently 240 was discussed at one stage.) The car industry globally is in a pretty rocky state these days and the procurement police seem to be in charge of these ad reviews. DDB Europe is reckoned to have cut its fees by up to 40 per cent to hang on to VW creative.

Maybe the big winners in ad reviews these days are those companies most prepared to act as a bank for their clients.

Hailing the win Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun thanks his team thus: merci, merci, merci! Smaller mercies these days, perhaps.

Omnicom-owned Hearts & Science has picked up its first big UK account, price comparison site GoCompare.com which moves from Carat which declined to repitch. The change follows the appointment of Zoe Harris from newspaper owner Reach as CMO in June.

New GoCompare CEO Matthew Crummack has said he wants a more “data-driven” approach, which is supposedly Hearts & Science’s thing, as he tries to revive the site. He’s also introduced a new service weflip which automatically flips users to the the energy provider offering the best deal.

A good idea, but the trouble with some of these smaller providers is that they seem to be going bust at regular intervals as costs rise and restrictions on energy prices increase.

In an unforgiving business environment, it’s a race to the bottom on all fronts as procurement rules.

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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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