Appraising Marketing Communication Industry in 2021 – THISDAYLIVE – THISDAY Newspapers


Raheem Akingbolu reviews the activities in the nation’s Marketing Communication industry in 2021 and how agencies scrabbled for over N30 billion worth of businesses.
After months of lull in business, occasioned by COVID-19 and lockdown that characterized the larger part of 2020, brand and agency owners entered 2021 with fear of the unknown. Though players in the marketing industry displayed enthusiasm to boost the morale of consumers and clients towards the end of 2020, they had little power to change the lingering global crisis. But by January 2021, savvy marketing practitioners had developed fresh skills that could make them impact brands with or without relaxation of the lockdown. Despite the odds, the year under review turned out to be a very tasking year with its pros and cons for both agencies and their clients. As expected, some practitioners gained while some lost a quantum part of their businesses.
Media buying/ Creative
Perhaps because of its strategic place in the marketing eco-system, activities among media buying agencies unsettled the marketing communications industry in 2021, especially as they concerned who got what in businesses. For instance, after a four years contract on MTN, a review was called in 2021 and WPP retained the account on a 60/40 ratio. While PHD Media won the entire MTN media buying business, its creative was shared among three agencies –DBB, TBWA Concept and Yellow Brick. DDB got the largest chunk of 60 per cent while TBWA Concept and Yellow Brick got 20 per cent of the business each. Also in 2021, Guinness multi billion naira media buying account was reviewed and the business was moved from Media Fuse to Media reach in a keenly competitive media pitch. For Coca Cola brand and its agencies, 2021 was also an exciting one.
In 2019, the brand initiated a sensational review exercise that paraded top global agencies but Media Fuse Agency network clinched the account. Last year, what many thought would be a walkover for the incumbent agency turned out to be a tug of war. Again, Media Fuse lost it all to Algorithm Media across the Africa market. Algorithm Media actually sprang surprise in the year under review for attracting other big businesses. For instance, it won Nestle and Total Oil accounts from Media fuse Dentsu Aegies and won Google accounts from Media Reach. Another breakthrough the agency recorded in 2021 was the fact that it was hired by DHL, a logistic company that had remained without an agency for years. Also in the telecom sector, 9mobile media accounts moved from All Season Zenith that had handled it for four years (2018 – 2021) to SBI Media.
The year under review was undoubtedly a good year for X3M Ideas.
From winning new clients to getting on board fresh talents it ticked all the right boxes. The agency also consolidated its reputation as the emerging creative powerhouse on the African continent with the quality of pan-African campaigns it executed in partnership with DStv and the MultiChoice Africa Group, becoming the first agency outside South Africa to pull off such a feat. Also in 2021, X3M Ideas became the agency that put Nigeria on the global map by winning several international awards notable among, which was the Gold it won at the Luum awards in Geneva Switzerland for work done for Mentally Aware Nigeria. Beyond its extension beyond Nigeria, X3M Ideas in 2021 won more accounts and consolidated its businesses in telco, financial and entertainment sectors.
PR Agencies
Unfortunately, many Public Relations agencies couldn’t survive from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 in 2020. However, 2021 was still a good year for some agencies. For instance, it was a great year for RED | For Africa, the parent company of Nigeria’s PR agency Red Media Africa. In the year under review, the agency consolidated its leadership in the Nigerian communication landscape by expanding its business scope to feature more intrinsic storytelling consultancy functions and this helped the promoters close the year with recognition at the 2021 Lapriga awards as the Most Innovative Agency in Nigeria. Some of the brands serviced by Red Media Africa in 2021 include Nigerian Breweries, Unilever Nigeria Plc, 54Gene, FrieslandCampina WAMCO and ViacomCBS Networks Africa.
After about two years of working behind the scenes, TPT international also came out of its shell in 2021 for further positioning of two of its clients. One, the agency helped Mouka foam to sustain leadership and brand equity in 2021. Perhaps TPT’s most exciting moment in the year was the work done on Bigi and Fearless drinks from the stable of Rite Foods Limited, when the company and Nigerian Bottling Company had a duel over a certain insignia on the Fearless and Predator Energy drinks. TPT didn’t only sustain the tempo; it warded off competition and projected the brands better. Another PR firm that gained gained clients’ traction and remained firm in spite of the odds in 2021 was Strategic Outcomes Limited. The 17-year-old company consolidated its work on MultiChoice, Lagos Internal Revenue Service and FIRS in 2021.
In 2021, Integrated Indigo Limited won two major accounts; Mastercard Foundation and Lagos Free Zone. For the first time, the agency, which is a sister company to Noah’s Ark Advertising, topped the chart in the area of billing among the companies under the Noah’s Ark group.
Black House Media, the agency handling MTN, Nigerian Breweries and Multichoice also raised the bar in 2021 by opening a United Kingdom office, where it currently working for multinational companies. CMC Connect also did great in 2021 by clinching three major accounts, which include; FXTM, Copterjet and MOJEC. In similar way, Chain Reactions Nigeria did well in the industry in 2021 with political marketing and execution of corporate PR campaigns in various sectors.
The year 2021 was also eventful for Mediacraft Associates. The most significant is that the agency did not lose any client in the year under review. Beyond business, Mediacraft Associates stepped up its CSR activities in 2021 by partnering with Stanbic IBTC Holdings to commemorate the World Cancer Day through an awareness campaign and free screening exercise for over 25 women. Currently, its accounts include; Nigerian Breweries Media account, Guinness PR account and Friesland Foods WAMCO Nigeria Plc.
Global Wins and Losses…
Coca-Cola $4 billion global account— WPP: In November, following a lengthy review process that included IPG, Dentsu, WPP and Publicis Groupe, WPP was chosen as the global marketing partner for Coca-Cola. The holding company is now tasked with managing end-to-end creative, media, data and marketing technology, across Coca-Cola’s entire portfolio.
JPMorgan Chase $400 million Global Media— WPP and Dentsu
In January 2021, Creative powerhouses, WPP and Dentsu won the media businesses of American multinational investment banking conglomerate, JPMorgan Chase, in a highly competitive pitch. The pitch which kicked off in late September 2020, covered the monetary companies’ offline media shopping for enterprise within the US, Northern Europe and Asia, and was supported by MediaHyperlink.
Google Multibillion Dollar Global Media Account— GroupM
In November, Google consolidated its entire multi-billion global media account with GroupM’s Essence. Google has partnered with Essence for more than a decade on all digital and programmatic media buying, but the offline portion of the business has been managed by Omnicom Media Group (OMG). Essence already held 80% of the business globally, and the account was moved without a formal review in an effort by Google to simplify its agency relationships.
Facebook $750million global media account— Publicis
In November, following a seven month competitive pitch which involved some of the world’s biggest agencies including Group M, Dentsu and Havas Media, Facebook announced Publicis Groupe’s Spark Foundry as its global media buying and planning agency. The $750 million global media account was put up for review in March. The pitch, which included media planning and buying across Facebook’s entire portfolio — Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger was managed by ID Comms.
Unilever $3.3 billion global media account— WPP, Omnicom, Havas
In September, Unilever announced its agencies of record worldwide after a US$3.3 billion global media pitch. WPP-owned Mindshare has retained several of the UK-based FMCG manufacturer’s markets, including the US, UK and Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium, the Nordics, Eastern Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia and China. Omnicom-owned PHD, meanwhile, was handed Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Canada, as well as North Africa and the Middle East, and retained Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Havas took over former-WPP territories France and Spain and IPG-owned Initiative has retained Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Greece.
Phillips $300m global media account— Omnicom
In May, Global health technology and beauty giant Philips awarded its creative, public relations and media accounts, worth $300m, to Omnicom following a review.
T-mobile $2.3 billion U.S media account— IPG
Global creative agencies, Publicis and WPP lost telco giant, T-mobile’s U.S media account to Interpublic Group subsidiary, Initiative. The two creative powerhouses and Horizon Media were incumbents on the lucrative account until a review in September, 2020. Interpublic Group subsidiary, Initiative, was awarded the media account following the completion of the pitch process. The review, which was managed by ID Comms, also included the new acquisition to T-mobile’s business, Sprint.
Walmart $600 million US media account— Publicis
In August, Media powerhouse, Publicis Groupe beat WPP, Omnicom and Dentsu in one of the biggest pitches of 2021 to win the $600m Walmart US media planning and buying account. The account came back to Publicis after moving over to WPP-backed Haworth in 2017.
Mercedes Global marketing account— Omnicom
Following a six-month pitch against Publicis Groupe, global marcomms leader, Omnicom Group bagged the global consolidated media, brand and performance marketing account for Mercedes-Benz. As part of the win, Omnicom acquired two German-based agencies, digital shop Antoni and PR firm OSK. The holding company will also develop creative hubs in the U.S., Europe and China to have account for the local needs of those markets.
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