Winning Liberty Global €180m media account will 'sort the men from the boys' says OMD EMEA president Nikki Mendonça
“Winning a company like Liberty Global with its huge ambition across Europe is really going to sort the men from the boys,” Nikki Mendonça, OMD president for EMEA, has remarked.
Speaking to The Drum following the announcment that OMD has won the €180m Liberty Global media communications account, Mendonça revealed she was “delighted” with the win and was “incredibly proud of the team at OMD in terms of how hard they have had to work and what they have had to do” over the last few months.
However, she admitted the pitch process was "hugely arduous" and described the firecely competetive landscape as one in which rivals behave like "piranha fish".
“We have had to integrate a lot of digital capabilities within our main agencies...it is clients like Liberty Global who are hugely ambitious and demand that integration that pushes OMD.
"As an agency OMD has been very successful for a long time, but it is hard to stay on top and we have everyone like piranha fish trying to steal our business and knock us out of competitive pitches so it makes me extremely proud to see our team rally to deliver their best work.”
The agency group has been appointed following a four-month review, aimed at consolidating Liberty Global’s media business, and which had been shared by a number of agencies worldwide.
Reported elsewhere as a win for parent company Omnicom, Mendonça explained: “This is an OMD win in every market apart from Belgium where we are housing the new business in PHD because we have Belgacom within OMD. We have had to do it in other pieces of business with huge international alignment because sometimes there is a local conflict and you have to look for a robust confidentiality solution, in this case it was PHD.
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“In terms of PHD, however, it is allowing us to launch PHD off the back of this win and that is brilliant news for the group as a whole.”
Despite juggling the pitch process over the busy summer months, which Mendonça admitted did wreak havoc for staff holidays including her own, one of her reasons for being pleased with the win is “because it will challenge us”.
“This whole business demands data and digital integration and that is what we have had to deliver in the two-month pitch process both centrally and locally, she said.
“They [Liberty Global] will push and challenge us even further still and, quite frankly, if you don’t have the clients that demand a certain level or product and service then it’s not always delivered”
With the account spanning 12 markets, including the UK where OMD was the incumbent, Mendonça expressed excitement at the possibilities the win holds, singling out the Netherlands, where Liberty Global has approval to take over Ziggo, as a “significant boost to OMD Netherlands credentials”.
The win sees OMD handle media planning and buying for Liberty Global brands such as Virgin Media, UPC, Unitymedia, Kabel BW, Telenet and VTR. The new contract will commence on January 1 2015.