Diageo calls global media review – 'the time is right'

MediaSense is consulting on the pitch

Diageo has called a review of its global media business, putting its planning and buying agency roster on high alert.

The Guinness, Smirnoff, Gordon's and Johnny Walker producer said it was "industry best practice" to review such a big media account "every few years".

Giving some indication of what Diageo would be looking for from agencies, a spokesperson added: "We have decided that the time is right to review our media agencies globally to ensure that we continue to be at the forefront of media planning and data-driven marketing plans.”

Dentsu Aegis-owned Carat has handled the bulk of Diageo's media business since 2016, the spend for which comes out of its estimated $2bn global marketing budget.

The agency currently takes care of media for the business in North America, Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Mindshare, meanwhile, oversees the India and South Africa accounts.

The Drum has reached out to Carat and Mindshare for comment, at the time of writing neither had responded.

Whichever agency, or agencies pick up the business will have to work in line with Diageo’s strict brand safety policies and Trusted Marketplace programme, introduced in 2017 to make sure the brand extracts the best value from its media buys.

They'll also have to provide diversity stats to chief marketing officer Syl Saller, who has been on a drive to ensure the group's roster is working to improve the representation of women at senior levels within their agencies.

According to Neilsen data, Diageo spent £20m on media in the UK in 2018, the majority of which was pumped into TV and OOH campaigns which took a £10.7m and £8.8m slice of the pie respectively. Just £36,000 was spent on digital campaigns in the same year, against £2.3m the year before — a disparity that could be explained by Diageo's YouTube and Snapchat spending freeze (the latter of which is ongoing).

In the US, it bought £126m worth of media in 2018, as per Kantar - $88m of that was dedicated to broadcast, with print and OOH being the next-biggest investments at $14.5m and $13.1m respectively.

MediaSense is consulting on the pitch.

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