UM wins $40m Optus media, creative roster appointed

By Rosie Baker and Rachael Micallef | 7 January 2016

UPDATE: Optus has overhauled its media and creative agency arrangements.

Optus has named UM its media agency after a lengthy pitch process. It brings to an end the telco's three-year relationship with Starcom MediaVest (SMG). UM has also won the media account for Virgin Mobile.

Optus has also named a new roster of creative agencies, retaining M&C Saatchi on its panel and adding several new agencies including Big Red, With Creative and AKQA.

Under the new arrangement, six agencies – Big Red, M&C Saatchi, The Works, Emotive, With Collective and AKQA – will oversee retail, digital, social and creative campaign work.

Big Red will be responsible for retail work for the telco, with Optus acting managing director of marketing and product Ben White noting that “with its solid portfolio of work, [it] is well placed to drive deep engagement with the Optus brand”.

“Optus selected a panel of creative agencies built around breadth of creative skills, strategic insights and cross-agency collaboration. We are confident our agency line-up can help deliver persuasive campaigns that stand out in the market and resonate strongly with consumers,” White adds.

AdNews tipped UM to win in December, but it was thought that the exit of top marketer Vicki Brady at the same time would delay the process.

It marks a positive start to the year for UM and its new CEO Ross Raeburn.

UM was unable to comment on the appointment.

Optus' main media spend for the last 12 months, according to Nielsen, was $40 million, but it could be as much as $60 million when Virgin Mobile is taken into account.

A statement from Starcom MediaVest reads: “After a three-year partnership with Starcom Mediavest Group, Optus and Virgin Mobile will leave the agency, effective April 2016."

SMG Australia CEO Chris Nolan said: “We are extremely proud of the innovation and award-winning work achieved in partnership with Optus and Virgin Mobile over the last three years. Over the course of our relationship, Optus and Virgin Mobile have transformed the business from a sales organisation to a customer-centric, service and content business.

“Our teams created and delivered some truly outstanding, results-orientated and award-winning work. Some of the highlights included the global first Facebook trending initiative, strategic partnerships with Westfield, cNet and Nova Red Room, the development of the Local Area Marketing business model, and for Virgin Mobile Australia, integrated campaigns for Fair Go Bro, Meal for Meal and Game of Phones, one of the most awarded campaigns ever. We wish Optus and Virgin Mobile every success in the future.”

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