Commbank confirms media account in play

Commbank CMO Vittoria Shortt

Commbank today announced it will put its media account out to pitch. The bank has been sounding out agencies in recent weeks.

The company confirmed the news to AdNews. Vittoria Shortt, chief marketing officer, Commonwealth Bank said:
“We have enjoyed a successful relationship with Ikon for the past 15 years. As a key partner, they have made a significant contribution to our business. In the six years since our last agency review, both the media landscape and our brands have evolved which has prompted our decision to explore the market.”

The agency review applies to various businesses across the CommBank Group and will take place in the coming months. Ikon Communications will be included in the process.

The news will be a blow to Ikon but probably no surprise.

Ikon was created in 1999 by the Commonwealth Bank to service the account, before branching out and servicing other business. The move caused major upset in the industry at the time.

Ikon last retained the account in 2008 and the account was overdue a review. Rumours that it was in play have circulated for the last two years.

AdNews understands that in recent weeks the bank has approached several agencies ahead of a pitch proper.

Ikon will do everything in its power to retain its founder client following a string of heavy losses including Vodafone, Coca-Cola and Diageo.

The company is thought to be planning a change of strategy in a bid to regroup after holding group STW decided to change its management team en masse last year, bringing in turnaround specialist James Greet from Mindshare to re-build the business and its systems.

The Commonwealth Bank spent $63m on main media in calendar year 2013, according to Nielsen estimates.

Speaking to AdNews as part of the CMO-focused annual last Christmas, Shortt said that while the bank would continue to use traditional media channels, that data-driven marketing and content with an increasing focus on mobile would be key themes for 2014.

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