Mars marketer on agency relationships, concludes billion dollar media pitch

Mars has consolidated global media planning and buying duties into MediaCom, worth £1.4 billion globally. This will see the agency handling media duties across most of the company’s portfolio, including buying for the US and China.

The appointment is effective on 1 January 2019, with a transition period running from August until December 2018. To deliver on the assignment, MediaCom will work as part of GroupMW, a GroupM solution, tapping into the resources of GroupM and WPP agencies in a bid to deliver outstanding results for Mars, a statement added.

The statement explained that the decision also connects to the larger transformation Mars has been driving with its marketing and media agenda. This includes looking to build competitive advantage through insights, investment, and innovation. This also saw Mars putting an increased focus on driving value from fast approaches to data, new creative and content models, and ways to incubate innovation.

In an earlier conversation with Marketing, Andrew Clarke, chief marketing and customer officer at Mars said that in essence, what Mars is looking for in a new media agency partner is brilliant expertise in media and strengths in all the brand’s major geographies.

“Most importantly, it is about the partnership and the agency of choice which knows our business and has the best talent who are able to partner and collaborate with us and our ‘crazy’ agencies,” he added.

When asked about digital marketing challenges being faced at the moment, Clarke explained that a big one for the company is the idea of always being evidence-based. This comes with the temptation of plowing many media dollars into digital.

“We know some of it works, but we also know that some of it doesn’t and there is a lot there is a lot we are unsure of [when it comes to digital marketing],” Clarke said.

As such, understanding how the brand can convert their reach into transactions is critical. Currently, the brand is spending about 30 to 35% of its media budget on digital, with an expectation for increase.

“That being said, we will only increase the budget if we have evidence of payback, and that’s the biggest challenge,” Clarke said.

MediaCom’s appointment follows a pitch which also involves Omnicom, led by Hearts and Science, and Publicis, led by Starcom. Previously, MediaCom had managed media planning globally for the Mars and buying in over 20 markets, including Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.

“This partnership will be a crucial accelerator in our ambition to be quicker, bolder and even more innovative when it comes to meeting our consumer needs. It brings thought leadership and actionable use of data and insights to meet our media needs,” Clarke said in the statement on MediaCom’s appointment.

“It was impressive to see some of the fresh, challenging approaches from all three of the agencies. It’s helped evolve our thinking throughout the pitch and inspired us to be even bolder in our ambition,” Rob Rakowitz, global media director at Mars, said.

“Building on our existing remit, and extending our 25-year relationship, we, along with our GroupMW colleagues, will now be managing all of Mars’ media buying, as well as their data and analytics. This confirms our place as the trusted media partner to one of the world’s most prestigious advertisers,” Stephen Allan, worldwide chairman and CEO of MediaCom, said.

Most recently, the brand pulled the plug on YouTube advertising after one of the ads for its Starburst brand was shown together with a drill rap music video by Moscow17, a drill rap music group. Drill is a genre of music which tends to be known for its violent, dark or nihilistic lyrical content.

Following the move, the brand confirmed that until it has confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, it will not advertise on YouTube. Mars only made a return to YouTube in March this year, after pulling its content last November.