MEC Ireland has won the Irish media planning and buying account for Vodafone. The account win follows a global review and pitch which was initiated in January.
The account was previously handled by OMD. However, the Omnicom-owned agency did not make the final shortlist which was whittled down to MEC and Carat, which is part of Dentsu Ageis Media.
Vodafone is one of the biggest advertisers in Ireland and the local end of the review was managed by Paula Murphy in Vodafone. Globally the account is reckoned to be worth a whoppingUK£600m with most of this spent in Europe. The account win will come as a major coup for MEC Ireland, which is headed up by David Hayes. The MEC-led pitch team from within WPP also included “Team Red Media,” which was made up of specialists from a number of other WPP agencies.
The move to a WPP-owned agency also strengthens the group’s grip on the Vodafone account as WPP agencies currently manage the creative for the telecoms giant. The London-based and WPP-owned agency Grey handles the bulk of Vodafone’s creative work in Europe while locally Target McConnells, which is affiliated to WPP, handles some of the local work.
Vodafone’s selection of MEC comes at a time when the European telecommunications industry is going through a period of consolidation and follows on from its $10 billion acquisition of Spanish cable company Grupo Corporativo Ono. In the Irish market 3 Mobile in also in the process of buying O2 Telefonica Ireland. However many telecoms analysts see Vodafone as prime acquisition target with the most likely suitor being the US giant AT&T. In January AT&T, which had been considering a bid for Vodafone, said that it would not do so for at least six months. Some analysts reckon the company could fetch up to $116 billion. If a takeover does take place, MEC should be in a strong position as it also handles the media planning for AT&T.