PHD increases grip on Sainsbury’s media business

Essence Mediacom X loses digital work

EssenceMediacom X is the GroupM/WPP media agency formed as an alternative to big brother EssenceMediacom so the group can handle conflicring accounts.

A week or so ago it lost the substantial L’Oreal account to Publicis and now Sainsbury’s has moved its digital work out of the agency and given it to Omnicom’s PHD in a pitch. PHD now handles all of Sainsbury’s.

Radha Davies, director of marketing, brands, planning and creative at Sainsbury’s, says: “We believe PHD is the right partner to help us deliver on our strategic objectives over the next three years.

“Throughout the process the agency was able to articulate a compelling case for a single agency model and embedded this in innovative, insight-based, holistic media planning.”

PHD has now handled Sainsbury’s for 30 years or so although it came close to losing it in 2027 when The&Partnership’s m/SIX seemed to have won it before PHD appealed and the business reverted to PHD. M/SIX, now incorporated into T&Pm, is another groupM agency.

Not good for Essence Mediacom X which may find it’s no longer needed to handle conflicting business. It always seemed a rather left field notion anyway.

The move may be good news for Sainsbury’s creative agency New Commercial Arts, which also handles Tu clothing. Sainsbury’s also says it hopes consolidation of the account will help foster relationships between its creative partners, which also include in-house agency Zest and T&Pm on Argos, to ensure a “more balanced allocation of media budget.”

One of creative agencies’ main gripes is that media agencies pile money into digital, as it’s supposedly more measurable, while they get left with crumbs for above-the-line branding. Sainsbury’s is currently piling on the airtime with NCA’s ‘Hey Sainsbury’s’ campaign.

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