Diageo Australia bucks trend, retains one agency model amid global media review

Arvind Hickman and Rosie Baker
By Arvind Hickman and Rosie Baker | 7 September 2016

Diageo Australia has bucked the global trend. It has stuck with a one-agency Publicis Groupe model with brand and media strategy led by Leo Burnett and Mediavest responsible for media buying execution in the local market.

Diageo announced overnight that globally, Carat and WPP's Mindshare would share regional media buying and planning work for a global marketing budget of about $2.3 billion. Dentsu Aegis will look after media in the Americas, Europe and Southeast Asia, with Carat retaining the lucrative US and UK accounts. WPP’s Mindshare have secured South Africa and India.

Australia is the only market in the world not to fall in line with the global structure. The maker of Smirnoff, Captain Morgan’s, Guinness and Johnnie Walker spends about $20 million on media each year in Australia, according to Nielsen.

In Australia, Diageo handed Leo Burnett all of its agency work in 2014 in a move to slash its roster and simplify the process. Publicis Groupe creative agency Leos provides all brand stratgey work including media planning work while sister agency Mediavest is responsible for buying in an unusual structure that was put in place by Diageo Australia marketing directer Adam Ballesty two years ago.

Ballesty said he went into the global review process open to opportunity and change, but is pleased that the connect model with Leos and Mediavest is being retained.

“This is a great case study of a terrific global process run well. We got to see the best people, tools and products on offer in the market, but I'm delighted we can continue the great work we've been doing with the Connect model," he says.

“It wasn't a difficult conversation to have globally. We're working well and seeing good results – our model stood up to the competition. It's a big strategic year for us with brands such as Bundaberg rum and so there's good business continuity with the relationship.”

Pete Bosilkovski, who worked with Ballesty to implement the model, says it's a glowing assessment the strategy put in place here has 'gone beyond theory' and proved itself as a competitive model against global media agency networks.

The 'connect' model as it is called, was designed to offer a centralised view of brand strategy. Within Leos it's led by Emily Taylor. AdNews has tracked the evolution of the strategy since the start. 

Bosilkovski says: "I’m thrilled that our transformative Connect model, which we’ve created in partnership with Publics Mediavest will continue in Australia. I would like to thank our amazing partners at Diageo Australia for believing in this transformative model and for coming on the journey with us. Over the past two years Connect has delivered outstanding results and we are really excited to build on its success.”

Sue Squillace, MD of Mediavest adds: “We are absolutely thrilled to have retained the Diageo business in what was a very competitive global review. To have retained this business is a great testament to the relationship we have with Diageo and the Connect Model developed specifically for them. Connect is a true collaborative partnership with Leo Burnett, Diageo and Mediavest. A partnership that has delivered some great work and business success to date and a partnership that has some exciting plans for the future. It’s our true integrated and leadership approach that has provided successful results for Diageo.”



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