Agencies battle over Guinness multi-billion Naira Media Account

The Nigerian media advertising sector has been engulfed in titanic battle as Guinness Nigeria Plc, a multinational brewery company concludes plans to carry out a review of its media buying agency for its multi-billion naira media advertising account.

The review exercise which commenced October this year with a briefing of four top media buying agencies in the country had witnessed two major pitches.

Agencies that are slugging it out amongst themselves for the media business that will be in excess of seven billion naira in 2016 are MediaReach OMD, an incumbent, Carat Media fuse, an Aegis Dentsu’s network, Media Perspectives and Universal McCann.

However, the pitch exercise witnessed a dramatic and exciting twist when Media Perspective suddenly pulled out of the exercise after attending the first briefing session. The Ikeja GRA Lagos based agency was reported to have cited the imminent actualization of its merger relations with Publicis Group which may ultimately make it a beneficiary of the Nigerian Breweries Plc’s media advertising business in Nigeria.

Industry sources said the pulling out of the pitch by Media Perspective was premature and uncalled for as Nigerian Breweries still maintain a very strong relationship with its current media handlers, starcom Ltd and also against the background of the fact that it is only Heineken that is the global brand in custody of Media vest, a Publicis Media agency while agencies for other brands on the stable of NBL are awarded through local pitches. In other words, it was argued that it was pre-posterous for Media Perspective to have shied away from a juicy brief in anticipation of an unpredictable outcome.

However, the pulling out of the contest, which did not go down well with the client was said to have left two old foes and the young Turks in the media buying sector, namely Tolu Ogunkoya and Emeka Chris Okeke to be at one and the other’s throat in the fierce competitive battle.

The pitch which was done in two phases saw the three agencies making a commercial bid where each contestant presented its cost guarantees in the media, infrastructure, team resourcing, experience and case studies in the first leg.

This was submitted sometimes November 4th, 2015 three weeks after the bid was opened with a joint briefing session with the client in the Guinness Boardroom.

It was further gathered that the briefing was held in conjunction with Diageo global and local procurement team as the review will cover all Guinness Nigeria Plc brands and Diageo brands.

The brand owner which was bent on selecting the best agency organized the second leg of the pitch last Thursday at a high-brow Hotel on Adeniyi Jones in Ikeja area of Lagos for the three agencies. It was gathered that MediaReach OMD first made its own strategic presentation and was followed by Carat Media Fuse while the last agency to make presentation was Universal McCann. Each of the agencies was given at least two hours to make its presentations.

Feelers emanating from the industry reveal that the result of the pitch expected before weekend may create an upset with a new agency clinching the coveted juicy jumbo account.

Reliable industry sources say the mood in one of the agencies that participated suggested a confident posture giving the volume of works and investments put behind the exercise during the pitches.

Though three agencies were involved in the pitch review exercise, the competition was said to have been more fierce between Tolu Ogunkoya led MediaReach OMD and Emeka Okeke’s Carat Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis thereby fueling insinuations of a probable reincarnation of rivalry between two old foes locking horns in a major titanic account win contest.

Efforts to get the views of top marketing officials at Guinness Nigeria Plc proved abortive as at press time. None of the participants was also willing to comment on the contest.

Nonetheless, events in the next few days will determine which direction the pendulum swings as the client will likely announce result in due course.
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