9mobile, hitherto Etisalat, a leading telecom company has thrown open its multi-million naira media advertising business for competitive pitch in a radical agency review move.
The incumbent was not given consideration because of the procedural disagreement of the business relationship while the honeymoon lasted.
Although past agencies were said to have been shortlisted and contacted, only four leading media shops eventually got invited and interviewed by a fifteen-man panel. The four leading agencies are Algorithm Media, a WPP affiliate, SBI Media, BrandEye and Universal McCann (UM).
However, the incumbent agency handler, All Seasons Zenith Mediacom was left out of consideration.
It will be recalled that All Seasons Zenith Mediacom won the juicy-jumbo media business worth four billion naira (N4bn) five years ago following global account re-alignment by the Public is Group which severed its affiliate relationship with Starcom Media, formerly a local affiliate of Mediavest International.
Consequent upon the severance of relationship by MediaVest, Starcom Media, equally a leading local media shop went ahead to resign the telecom business in July 2014, having worked on the brand for over a year.
Earlier, Starcom Media had won the account which was then known as Etisalat, through a competitive pitch that saw MediaReach OMD, a former handler of the account quitting the business after almost six years of engaging partnership. As a matter fact, it is on record that MediaReach OMD was the media shop that launched 9mobile into the competitive Nigerian telephony market.
Resigning the 9mobile account then, former Managing Director of Starcom Media, His Royal Highness Oba Ayo Kupoluyi had said that “it was time for the agency to disengage from the account having satisfied itself of a meritorious service delivery while the relationship lasted.
However, the takeover of the media business by All Seasons has been relatively uneventful as the client has not really done much in terms of media spend and activities. Reason being that the period the incumbent ware-housed the telecom brand business has been described by notable industry source as challenging because it coincided with the period of life-threatening ownership challenge by the company.
Speaking on the pitch exercise, Mr. David Olusola, a digital advertising executive in Lagos said that “the telecom brand’s decision to rejig its media and advertising efforts is a welcome development as the brand has a strong equity and very is popular and admired by the youth segments of the teeming Nigerian population”.
Commenting on the proposed agency review, a veteran media specialist, Mr. Sola Ajibola said the need for agency review may have been informed by the client’s continued management and cost efficiency.