Matthew Miller
Mar 30, 2012

Optus retains M&C Saatchi for creative, chooses Starcom for media

AUSTRALIA - After an extended pitch process, Singtel-owned telecom giant Optus has retained M&C Saatchi for creative duties, extending a relationship that began in 2003, and has selected Starcom to take over its media buying from MPG.

Tom Dery, worldwide chairman, M&C Saatchi
Tom Dery, worldwide chairman, M&C Saatchi

The pitch, according to an industry source, lasted more than a year as Optus is looking to "reinvigorate" its brand. The creative side ended up as a two-way shootout between M&C Saatchi and George Patterson Y&R, which had held the account prior to M&C Saatchi winning it in 2003. 

On the media side, Starcom takes over from incumbent MPG, which had held the account for eight years. Starcom will also manage buying for Optus’ wholly owned subsidiary, Virgin Mobile Australia.

“It is gratifying to have this opportunity to continue our long relationship with Optus,” Tom Dery, worldwide chairman of M&C Saatchi, said in a statement. “Optus continues to challenge in the dynamic telco industry. An industry that has experienced phenomenal growth and change in the past decade.” 

M&C Saatchi has been having a good year, winning the $107 million Commonwealth Bank business and $158 million global Etihad Airways account in February. 

M&C Saatchi has demonstrated a deep understanding of the Optus brand over its tenure, according to Michael Smith, the brand's corporate marketing director. “As we evolve from being a traditional telco to a leading provider of next-generation communication, infotainment and technology services, building an even greater Optus brand is fundamental to our long-term success," he added. "We believe M&C Saatchi is the agency best placed to help us establish a clearer, differentiated brand position."
 
Smith cited Starcom's strong leadership and fresh approach as decisive factors for the media-buying decision. 
 
"The Y&R Brands group of companies, including our overseas partners, delivered an outstanding proposal to Optus," said Russel Howcroft, chief executive of Y&R Brands. "We are disappointed that we did not win the mainstream advertising tender. However, Y&R Brands’ IdeaWorks will continue to provide Optus with ongoing and exceptional service."

An MPG Australia spokesperson said, "MPG and Media Contacts have worked with the Singtel team for more than nine years and while of course we’re disappointed not to retain the business, a partnership as lengthy as this is a great achievement. MPG and Media Contacts have been fortunate to work on some outstanding campaigns with Singtel over the years and are very proud of what we’ve achieved with the Singtel team during that time."

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