Vodafone opens bidding for £600m advertising contract


Gideon Spanier
Wednesday 22 January 2014 12:53 GMT

Vodafone has kicked off one of the biggest advertising pitches of the year after the mobile giant announced it is putting its global ad-buying and planning account up for tender.

The FTSE 100 giant, whose key markets include Britain, Germany, India, Egypt and South Africa, is thought to spend upwards of £600 million a year on advertising.

OMD, part of US giant Omnicom, is the agency which holds the account at present and will be among those repitching in the first review for five years.

Other ad groups including Britain’s WPP, which already does some creative work for Vodafone, and Aegis, the British-based subsidiary of Japan’s Dentsu, will be likely to bid for the valuable account.

Vodafone said it wanted to review its ad spend because of “advancements in the media and digital landscape”.

Chief executive Vittorio Colao is known to take a keen interest in marketing and is looking beyond paid media to other areas such as social media and live events.

Last month, Vodafone announced a “radical” change in direction for its marketing strategy by announcing Vodafone Firsts, which will focus on people doing “remarkable things for the first time”.

Vodafone brand director Barbara Haase said the company wanted to move away from big-money sponsorship of events such as Formula 1.

“We know that our technology can enable and inspire people to do something amazing for the first time, from making their first call to sharing their first video,” she said at the time.

“Firsts is designed to reflect that sense of empowerment and excitement by using our technology and connectivity to enable a diverse range of people to achieve their remarkable ambitions.”

Vodafone’s annual ad spend was reported to be around £800 million in 2009 but industry observers suggested it has fallen since.

The decision to hold a pitch for its ad account is unconnected with a separate review of the auditors of its financial accounts.

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