Microsoft has extended its relationship with Dentsu Aegis Network for its global media planning and buying business. In a statement to Adweek, Microsoft corporate VP of brand, advertising and research Kathleen Hall confirmed the extension, adding that it followed a review of its global media agencies.
The Adweek report added that Wavemaker, Starcom and UM was also vying for the account, and a Dentsu Aegis Network team led by Carat was also in the pitch. Meanwhile, Omnicom did not pitch for the account due to an account conflict with Apple. The review also did not involve its creative business, currently held by m:united//McCann, the report added.
Marketing has reached out to Microsoft for comment. Dentsu Aegis Network declined to comment.
For the year of 2017, Microsoft sales and marketing expenses increased US$842 million or 6%. This was primarily due to LinkedIn expenses and increased investments in sales capacity for Microsoft’s commercial cloud, offset in part by a reduction in phone and marketing expenses. Advertising expense was US$1.5 billion, US$1.6 billion, and US$1.9 billion in fiscal years 2017, 2016, and 2015, respectively.
Sales and marketing expenses include payroll, employee benefits, stock-based compensation expense, and other headcount-related expenses associated with sales and marketing personnel, and the costs of advertising, promotions, trade shows, seminars, and other programs.
Microsoft consolidated its agency roster in 2014, picking Interpublic Group (IPG) for creative and Dentsu Aegis Network for media planning, media buying and search advertising. At IPG, creative, localisation and deployment will be handled by various agency teams throughout IPG’s global network. Prior to the appointment, Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest handled media buying in the US while Interpublic’s UM handled the overseas markets.