Top 10 facts on Optus' roster overhaul

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 8 January 2016

In what has been one of the most eagerly anticipated pitches of 2015, the results of the Optus media review were announced this week. Here's a snapshot of what you need to know about this big brand and agency shift.

  • 1. After a three-year relationship with media agency Starcom MediaVest, telco giant Optus (owned by Singtel) parted ways with the media shop this week having chosen IPG's UM as its new media buying agency. UM also won the media account for Singtel-owned Virgin Mobile.
  • 3. Optus' main media spend for the last 12 months, according to Nielsen, is $40 million but it could be as much as $60 million when Virgin Mobile is taken into account.
  • 4. The pitch score for UM is the first major win under its new CEO Ross Raeburn. It is not yet known what will happen to the Starcom staff working on Optus, which could have been as many as 25. UM will now be on a hiring drive.
  • 5. As well as the media agency shake-up, Optus also named a new roster of creative agencies retaining M&C Saatchi on its panel, but now adding Big Red, The Works, Emotive, With Collective and AKQA to oversee retail, digital, social and creative campaign work. See here for AKQA – who are they and why do we care?
  • 6. The Big Red has offices in Melbourne and Dubai and is headed up by Ted Horton, an industry veteran and one of Australia's most celebrated and divisive ad men. The Big Red runs the creative work for Coles.
  • 7. Despite M&C staying on the books, the move will come as a blow to the once lead Optus creative agency as it's now forced to share the Optus pie, and no doubt battle it out with the others for the lion's share/best parts of the creative.
  • 8. The Virgin Mobile creative shake-up sees Whybin/TBWA appointed as its lead creative agency, with its sister agency Eleven PR to handle public relations and social media. With Collective will lead customer marketing activity and Emotive joins the roster as a content partner for the brand.
  • 9. The Virgin roster shuffle sees STW-owned Ogilvy, One Green Bean, and Havas Worldwide lose out, after they failed to retain any work. It's a bitter telco pill for Ogilvy to swallow and will echo after the loss of the Vodafone account in June 2014.
  • 10. Fears had arisen that the pitch would drag on further into this year as in the middle of the pitch Optus lost its marketing lead after Vicki Brady left to work at rival telco Telstra. It remains to be seen who the new Optus CMO will be.

Want more on Optus? See below:

What does the Optus shake up mean?

AKQA – who are they and why do we care?

UM wins $40m Optus media, creative roster appointed

Virgin Mobile creative shake-up - Whybin takes creative


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