Barclays to hand OMD £60m media account in further blow to WPP

WPP's Maxus was the incumbent during the pitch process, which is said to have stretched back to March this year

Barclays has appointed OMD as its media agency following a six month-long pitch process, with WPP's GroupM-owned Maxus losing out on the account, which is understood to be worth up to £60m, The Drum understands.

The procurement-led pitch came to conclusion earlier this week with OMD now understood to be awaiting board level sign off before it is made official.

The Drum has contacted Barclays for comment on reports of the account-switch from industry sources, but it has thus far not responded to these claims.

The UK-based global banking giant first put the account up for review in March this year after three year’s of Maxus overseeing its media buying activity. ID Comms acted as a third-party advisor on the process.

The bank, which has rolled back high profile sponsorships spots in recent years (such as sponsoring the FA Premiere League, plus London’s public ‘Boris bikes’system) with the final round of presentations understood to have taken place in late June.

Picking up the reputed £60m-a-year Barclays account builds on OMD's success at this year's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, where it was named Media Network of the Year, after winning 11 gongs, plus several other nods at the ad industry's showcase awards ceremony.

Meanwhile, for WPP the loss of the Barclays account comes two months after GroupM confirmed a realignment of its media agency stable in a process that would effectively see it merge sister agencies Maxus and MEC.

With the latest move, WPP is looking to save money by cutting back on office space, IT and staff - although the company has said that no targets have been set for job cuts or the savings from such reductions.

The process has seen GroupM’s Essence unit become the “fourth pillar” of its media offering, with chief executive Christian Juhl previously telling The Drum its offering has more been more readily likened to the industry’s management consultancies, as opposed to a traditional media agency.

Recalibrating its agency structure has also seen GroupM shift Maxus US and UK chiefs – Nick Baughan and Steve Williams – within the Essence fold, plus former Maxus chief strategy officer Damian Blackden adopting the same title within Essence.

WPP called its first results for the first half of 2017, and reported that conditions during the period where "much tougher" than had first been anticipated. With the network blaming a 0.3% annual revenue dip on slower, and "short term" client spending, its share price dipped by as much as 11% in the aftermath of the publication of the numbers.

“In a slower growth world, both more recently and post-Lehman, inflation has been negligible, perhaps also suppressed by digital deflation. As a result, clients have markedly less pricing power and finance and procurement departments are very focused on cost," according to the company.

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