5 AOR Shifts to Prospect Now

November 14, 2019

Whether you’re selling media, services, tech, or sponsorships, an agency of record shift indicates potential opportunity ahead. We’ve highlighted five recent shifts that business development professionals in all corners of the marketing landscape should take note of. Before we get into the specifics, let’s break down exactly why AOR appointments affect pitchworthyness, and how the opportunity trigger works for different sellers.

Agencies and Service Providers

AOR shifts are often part of a domino effect, meaning additional changes and agency hires are likely to come. If a brand hires a new creative AOR, they may be shopping for media, PR, production, and specialty agencies to work on project or AOR basis. So if you’re an agency or marketing services provider, you should see an AOR hire as an opportunity to position your services to a brand that’s clearly open to taking a new direction (assuming the service you provide differs from that of the agency of record just hired).


An agency hire signals a change in direction, and often, a campaign on the horizon. For media sellers, this means the time to build relationships is now. If the agency is handling media, you’ll want to connect with the newly-hired team who’ll be responsible for planning and executing buys. Keep in mind the client is the one who hired the agency, so the fact that they’re changing direction can mean they might be more open to considering offerings they’ve previously passed on, so it’s a good time to build a relationship with them as well.

Adtech & Martech

An AOR hire means that the brand-side decision-makers responsible for marketing strategy are open to new ideas, and a new strategy. That means they might be more likely to consider vendors outside of the legacy partners they’ve worked with in the past. If your technology is utilized by an agency, then obviously depending on the type of agency hired there may be opportunity to pitch into a fresh set of newly-hired eyes.

Sponsorship Sales

If a brand hires a new AOR, sponsorship sellers are encouraged to reach out and see if the new decision-makers in place are open to allocating dollars towards partnership opportunities. If you have the ability to get the brand in front of their target demographic, newly-hired eyes will be open to new strategies and relationships. Reaching the right brands at the right time is key when it comes to winning new sponsors, so as soon as a new AOR is in place reach out in order to remain top-of-mind.

1. BMW Motorrad Names New Creative AOR After Promoting Marketing Head to VP of Brand 

After promoting Trudy Hardy to marketing VP of BMW Motorrad, the brand named Hill Holliday creative AOR this November. Hill Holliday now handles strategic recommendations, creative development and channel usage, including print, digital and social media initiatives. 

Motorrad has more than doubled it’s YOY digital display spend (up 116%) from November 2018-2018 to November 2018-2019. In the past 12 months, most ads were placed programmatically (79%) through Google. It’s top spending period this year was Q2. 

Media Seller Opportunity: The top demographic will include millennial males and middle-aged males as well. Offer digital space, as well as print and social space to entice middle-to-upper-class men with new motorcycles. 

Agency Opportunity: This creative AOR announcement may follow with further reviews, considering reviews tend to come in pairs. Reach out to secure your place in line for potential media or digital responsibilities. 

Request a Demo for Access to BMW Motorrad Contact Info 

2. Michelin Announces Havas Media as AOR 

French tire company Michelin named Havas Chicago as global AOR. Havas will manage all the U.S. media buying and planning. They will work with TBWA/Chiat/Day, which retains Michelin’s global creative remit. 

According to iSpot, Michelin has spent $3.9M on national TV ads YTD, a drastic decrease from $20.2M spent in the same time frame of 2018. The drop in TV spend comes as they shift to higher digital spend. 

Adbeat reports digital display ad spend as $645.2k in the last year. 79% were placed site direct on sites such as superstreetonline.com, cardomain.com, mustangfords.com, superchevy.com and popsci.com. 

Media Seller Opportunity: Michelin typically spends the most in Q2 and Q3. Their target audience is older millennials and Gen X men. They have recently shifted most of their spend from TV to digital. Reach out soon to stay top-of-mind for 2020 Q2 if you can provide ad space. 

Agency Opportunity: We reported in September that Michelin named Weber Shandwich as its PR AOR. There may be potential opportunities in the future for agencies to secure business, considering reviews tend to follow one another. Reach out if you have the ability to provide digital services. 

Request a Demo for Access to Michelin Decision-Maker Contact Info 

3. JFK Library Foundation Names Creative AOR, Plans Spring 2020 Campaign 

Boston’s John F. Kennedy Library Foundation named Portland’s The VIA Agency creative AOR last month. In the spring of 2020, VIA will release a campaign in support of the JFK Presidential Library through print, OOH, broadcast and digital display. 

In 2018, the Foundation placed digital display ads at the very end of Q4, so sellers should reach out soon for possible Q4 2019 spending dollars. Keep an eye out for pushes on significant JFK days for possible digital display opportunities. The JFK Presidential Foundation placed a TV spot in January 2018 for $5.6k. It targeted a split amount of Gen X viewers and their children. Since we will see the new campaign hit broadcast, at least locally if not nationally, sellers will likely want to use affordable TV space targeting those demographics. 

Media Seller Opportunity: We encourage sellers to offer digital, TV, print and OOH for the coming spring 2020 campaign pushing awareness of the Library to parents and children (Gen Z, millennials and Gen X). 

Agency Opportunity: The Library has an Instagram page, so agencies with social experience could reach out with services in this channel. Since it worked with TMA on a project basis, consider reaching out with digital and creative services as well. 

Request a Demo for Access to JFK Library Decision-Maker Contact Info 

4. Regis Shifts AORs After Hiring CMO 

In its latest Q1 earnings call (it’s FY closes in June), Regis execs mentioned that the Supercuts parent is working with new agency partners after naming a new CMO earlier this year. Regis is now working to upgrade its marketing and advertising with agencies such as Barkley and TBWA/ Chiat/ Day. Other agencies will likely be added to the roster, and the company also continues to invest in digital influencers. 

According to iSpot, YTD national TV spend of $3.7 million has targeted various male, sports-oriented audiences. Most Supercuts commercials have debuted during Q4, but nearly half the amount compared to the same timeframe in 2018. This drop is likely due to Regis’s ongoing focus on digital. 

During the past 12 months, Adbeat reports that Regis and it’s brands have spent $39,500 on digital display adverts placed primarily site direct and programmatically. This amount marks a 253% increase from the $11,200 spent from October 2017-18. 

Media Seller Opportunity: This shift toward digital, along with Regis’s focus on influencers, signals that Regis wants to reach more millennials and Gen-Z with a slight male skew. The company also uses OOH, print and radio. 

Request a Demo for Access to Regis Decision-Maker Contact Info 

5. Justin’s Names New AOR, Increases Digital Spend 

Justin’s named Barkley (Boulder) AOR this November to oversee brand strategy, creative campaign development, media planning and buying, social media strategy and design. Barkley will develop and execute a media campaign to increase brand awareness and household penetration. 

Justin’s marketing VP, Penny Andino, was elevated to the position last year from marketing director. Justin’s seems interested in increasing it’s marketing investments, but its team is currently small. Parent company Hormel Foods Corporation has increased marketing expenses across brands since 2017, so we should continue to see a rise in spend. 

Digital display spend remained higher from January through May and recently picked back up again from August through September. Spending in this channel increased YOY by 279% from $153.6k to $581.8k in the past 12 months. Most ads were placed site direct onto publishers such as thekitchn.com, outsideonline.com, wellandgood.com, looper.com, and listindiario.com. 

Media Seller Opportunity: Justin’s targets better-for-you consumers and retail grocers across the country. When reaching out, offer digital space for better-for-you millennial moms. Keep in mind that digital display spend was highest from Q1 through mid Q2. We recommend reaching out with Q1 2020 ad space. 

Agency Opportunity: Justin’s tends to partner with agencies near it’s Boulder, CO headquarters. Those in the West will likely have the upper hand. Keep an eye out for reviews likely within the next 12-18 months. 

Request a Demo for Access to Justin’s Decision-Maker Contact Info 

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