TSB reviews its £17m media business: what CMO Pete Markey wants to see in the pitch

TSB

TSB has launched a review of its media business, which is currently managed by Dentsu Aegis’ Vizeum.

Vizeum has been invited to repitch for the account. RFIs are being issued by the intermediary How to Buy a Gorilla Company later this month with pitches expected to be held early October.

The account is estimated to be worth £17m.

Pete Markey, chief marketing officer at TSB, told The Drum the review is not a reflection of its work with Vizeum, but instead a "good time" to reappraise the market given the three-year contract has come to a close.

"It's a good moment for us and for Denstu to decide whether we feel it's right that we keep working together," he said. "We have a lot of time for the Dentsu and Vizeum but it's the right thing to go out and look at the market."

"Since I last reviewed [when he was at Aviva] the independents have risen up but there's also interesting movements in the larger networks. Dentsu are part of our list and we're interested in how we develop that model – but equally we want to take the opportunity to meet some new faces."

It will be Markey's first review of the media business since he was promoted to the top marketing job last August. It continues to work with Joint on creative after appointing the agency in 2013.

'How will your agency work with our in-house team?'

The review comes as TSB experiments with how much of its marketing and media is manages internally.

It has worked with the Oliver Group for the past year to establish its own content agency, called Studio 1810, which it claims has delivered multi-million-pound savings.

The strong results delivered have led Markey to question what else the brand can manage without the help of an agency. While it has every intention to appoint a media agency, what it does want to see from this review are models that would bring planning "closer" to the TSB in-house team it's already established.

"We've talked about in-housing and I'm watching those models with interest but, for now, that's not where I'm looking to go. What interests me is the opportunity to bring media planning closer into our business," he explained.

"In a world where we think of ourselves more like a retailer in the way we manage our digital presence and the opportunity to reach customers then we need media planning working alongside us rather than at a distance. Quite what that looks like is a question we'll pose during the pitch process - what are the models out there?"

He added: "But we are very much looking to appoint a media agency and double down on the ways of working. We want much tighter, much more on the ground planning between us, the content studio, and the agency."

'Don't pitch like we're just another bank'

Dentsu's Vizeum was appointed to the business in 2016 after it was moved out of Manning Gottlieb OMD, which handled it for three years. The Omnicom media shop was the first agency TSB appointed after it split from Lloyds Banking Group.

TSB's marketing approach since that historical shift has been to position itself as "a challenger", something it's done through sponsoring events such as the 'Pride of Britain' awards, which are now a key fixture in its annual media plans.

Markey said he's looking for an agency that will push this agenda further.

"Our business was reborn six years ago to be a challenger bank. Whatever agency we go with needs to have that challenger mindset. We're not just another bank and if people approach us thinking we are, that's not it," he said.

"The mindset is that TSB is looking to challenge and be a challenger on behalf of customers in the industry. We're therefore looking for a media agency that can be a challnger and a disputor on our behalf in how we buy media.

"We want to be much smarter, nimbler and effective in what we're doing."

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