Shawn Lim
Apr 15, 2024

Swatch switches media duties to Publicis from GroupM in China

Swatch is the second long-term client after Dyson to depart from GroupM to Publicis this year, following news of a bribery scandal in China in 2023.

Swatch switches media duties to Publicis from GroupM in China

Swatch has decided to end its two-decades long relationship with GroupM in China and appoint Publicis as its media agency of record (AOR), Campaign can reveal. 

First reported by Campaign in February 2024, the Swiss watchmaker initiated a review of its media account reportedly worth between $80 million to $100 million with Wavemaker, after a GroupM bribery scandal in China was revealed.

Other GroupM clients including Dyson and Yum! Brands were also reported to have placed their media accounts with the Group under review at the time, sending RFPs to various agencies, including Publicis. 

Campaign understands Swatch sent a request-for-proposal (RFP) to Publicis, OMG, Havas, and IPG, with only Publicis confirming it was pitching for the account to Campaign.

Wavemaker won the Swatch account in 2018 from Kinetic Worldwide, who previously held it from 2015 to 2018, after GroupM sunset Kinetic's operations in Asia-Pacific. Prior to this, the account was held by Mediacom (now EssenceMediacom) for a decade from 2005 to 2015.  

According to Comvergence, Wavemaker handled all offline media planning and buying for Swatch brands including Longines, Mido, Omega, Rado, Swatch and Tissot. OMD handled the digital media buying and programmatic for the same Swatch brands worth $13 million in billings.  

Swatch's Harry Winston offline media buying and planning account, which is worth $5 million in billings according to Comvergence, already sat with Publicis' Starcom. 

Campaign understands that Publicis Media will now take over all the above Wavemaker's responsibilites. Multiple sources tell Campaign that like Publicis, OMD also pitched for the full scope of work but ultimately lost out.

However, OMD will continue to handle digital media buying and programmatic for the same Swatch brands.

This is the second long-term GroupM client to depart for Publicis. In early April, Campaign reported that Dyson also awarded its media account to Publicis Media in China, ending its 11-year relationship with GroupM. 

When reached by Campaign, Publicis and Swatch declined to comment, while GroupM and Wavemaker did not respond to queries.  


Campaign Asia

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