Blockbuster Global Creative and Media Agency Moves

Blockbuster Global Creative and Media Agency Moves

Unless there’s something going on behind the scenes with Green Giant and Electrolux’s media accounts, the summer’s agency shuffles are just about done. So here’s our a rundown of some of the biggest agency moves between Memorial Day and Labor Day, courtesy of DailyVista, but which were more Ben-Hur than Finding Dory?

The year really kicked into gear when Procter & Gamble made a giant leap to Hearts & Sciences, but that was back in April, so it’s not included in this list. DailyVista subscribers can click the brand names for full stories.


Summer’s agency merry-go-round began with Carnival consolidating its North America and UK business at Omnicom’s PHD in New York. PHD had been the agency of record for Carnival Cruise and Cunard Line brands for the last few years, while other brand business had been held by various other shops.


Maybe it was the appalling “Type E” campaign that led to E-Trade moving media planning and buying from WPP (Ogilvy and GroupM) to MDC’s Assembly. Rich Muhlstock, senior VP-branding and acquisition at E-Trade Financial, said, “We are pleased to bring on a media agency that understands how to best navigate today’s complex media ecosystem, engage our audiences and drive performance.”

Spin Master

DailyVista confirmed that following a three-month review, the toy manufacturer moved its $30 million media account to IPG’s Initiative in Los Angeles, leaving MediaCom which had handled media planning and buying for the last five years.

Volkswagen of America

This was the review that lasted for most of a year, and concluded with Omnicom’s PHD adding global media for the North American VW brand to the Porsche account it already held. MediaCom, the outgoing incumbent, suffered another big loss in a little over a week with VW’s move coming on the heels of Spin Master’s switch.


June’s brutal pace continued, with brands cutting and remaking alliances with agencies at a clip that rivalled anything in Game of Thrones. This time Discover, the fourth-largest credit card brand in the U.S., moved its media planning from Dentsu Aegis’s Vizeum in NYC to Spark in Chicago, part of Publicis’ SMG network.


Broadband phone service has been around for more than a decade, and Vonage were one of the pioneers of early VoIP services. Switching focus from residential to business, the tech company has tried to redefine itself a few times, and now it’s looking to MDC’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami for creative work. FCB New York is the outgoing incumbent.

Famous Footwear

Pushing more dollars into programmatic digital direct response ads, the shoe retailer tapped The Richards Group to handle creative, brand strategy, digital and social strategy to add some polish to its brand. Famous Footwear CMO Will Smith said “We were looking for complete cross-platform integration, outstanding creative chops, and strong strategic insights. The Richards Group delivers on all these elements.”


The Richards Group had another big day, being re-hired by PulteGroup, the nation’s largest homebuilder, as creative AOR after losing the account in 2010. Pulte are set to focus on digital natives and mature millennials, with PulteGroup CMO Manish Shrivastava saying “It is critical in today’s world of consumer distraction and media fragmentation that we create rich, deep and aspirational connections with our consumers.”

Still with us? This is where we stop to celebrate July 4th, but as busy as the previous six weeks had been, there were bigger fireworks to come.

LG Electronics

This news was originally broken by DailyVista on June 16th, but took a little while to get confirmation of all the details. The electronics brand is looking to take on Apple, Samsung, HTC and Xiaomi in a cellphone battle royale, which likely means more media dollars being pushed in the direction of Horizon in New York, making the short journey south on 7th Avenue from Mindshare.


The Swedish home furnishing behemoth moved its equally large global media account to WPP and Dentsu Aegis, which means local level companies under the WPP and Dentsu Aegis umbrellas will compete for the business in local markets. Spring media dollars might still be in play, so planners and buyers should put assemble their RFPs (though if there’s an extra screw or washer left over when you’re done, it’s supposed to be like that).


Holy cow! Atlanta’s chicken sandwich QSR ended its 22-year association with Dallas-based The Richards Group, spreading creative, media, brand identity and social across multiple shops. Jon Bridges, helming the restaurant’s marketing since January 2015 has brought a focus on data and pushed for increased programmatic buying.

Harley Davidson

Hitting the open road, the iconic motorcycle brand left behind Wolfes (creative), Starcom (media) and DigitasLBi (digital) in favor of Team Ignite of Interpublic Group for creative, media and digital work. While Harley’s marketing VP Shelley Paxton won’t give any other details of agencies and team members, she said “Creative, digital and media absolutely has to be a single strategy to live together in this day and age.”


After a change at CMO and a shift of creative agency last year, the car rental company put Group M’s MEC in the driving seat as media AOR for the U.S., Canada and Latin America. While Hertz tends to load its ad activity into the first half of the year, there might be some exciting moves as MEC establishes itself.


After acquiring Blue Coat Systems earlier this summer, Symantec moved media planning and buying four blocks north from Grey San Francisco to PHD. There’s no confirmation yet about whether Symantec’s consumer anti-virus brand, Norton, is making the move with the enterprise-focused business yet.

Red Robin

The burger fast-casual chain out of Colorado is apparently “all-in” on multiple pilot projects to get their food in the hands and mouths of diners, wherever the diner happens to prefer. These projects will be supported by high impact marketing, and for that the chain tapped KBS and The Media Kitchen for digital media, while Initiative in Los Angeles will handle traditional media.

AT&T DirecTV

After putting what’s likely to be more than a billion dollars of creative and media accounts into formal review, AT&T moved everything to Omnicom. Following through on the goal to adopt “a single integrated media and creative operating model made up of affiliated agencies,” the phone and TV company parted ways with Grey (which had DirecTV creative) and MEC (which had run media planning and buying for AT&T and Cricket Wireless). Omnicom’s BBDO will likely get the DirecTV creative, and Hearts & Sciences will be given the media planning and buying.


Another change of footwear this summer, with DSW sending its media business to Dentsu Aegis’s 360i in Chicago. There’s no news of whether Resource Ammirati will be kept on as creative AOR, thought new CMO Amy Stevenson has shown a willingness to shake up the roster.

Planet Fitness

The judgement-free fitness centers are looking to bulk-up growth as it seeks to transition from challenger to champion. Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners have been handling creative and traditional media while Ansira handled digital, but IPG’s Hill Holiday has been named new AOR. While Planet Fitness is “very pleased” with Red Tettmer, a spokesperson said a new agency would be sought out to speed the growth plan.

HP Enterprise

Hewlett-Packard’s cloud service and storage business worked with Ark Advisors to review its agency relationships, and has beamed most of its global creative and media business to Publicis, with teams at Prodigious, DigitasLBi, Optimedia and Razorfish (which, yes, looks like a team of digital accountants). Punning around with “Enterprise,” HP did a ton of sponsorships around this summer’s Star Trek Beyond movie and that activity looks set to continue. Red shirt away team members for this one were BBDO (creative), Doremus (demand gen), Rapp (direct marketing) and Omnicom Media Group (media).


Signing off with an Olympics campaign, and the last(?) big move before Labor Day, Omnicom make way for Horizon as Chobani’s media planning and buying agency. Stirring things up, Chobani brought its creative in-house last year, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that media would come under review sooner rather than later. That said, the recent appointment of a new chief creative officer, and the fact that Chobani has been spoon-feeding work to agencies on a per-project basis, we might soon see a new creative agency announcement.

And that’s it. All you need to know to have the kind of conversations at the water cooler you should be having when your boss walks by. If this kind of intel makes your life easier, or if you just like seeing what business is moving to where, you can get new info delivered to your inbox every day by subscribing to DailyVista.

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