Don’t Launch a Media Agency Review Right Now

By Thought Leaders Archives
Cover image for  article: Don’t Launch a Media Agency Review Right Now

At the moment there are 16 media agency reviews being conducted (that we know of). That’s tens of billions of dollars in play. There is probably someone else out there that has not yet announced.

Here (in no particular order) are the clients who have launched a search.


  1. P&G
  2. Coca-Cola
  3. CVS
  4. General Mills
  5. Coty
  6. Citi
  7. Bose
  8. Unilever
  9. Visa
  10. VW
  11. L’Oreal
  12. Microsoft
  13. 20c Fox
  14. J&J
  15. Sony
  16. SC Johnson

There are arguably seventeen media agencies large enough to have the resources to handle these accounts. If we have forgotten an agency in this league, please forgive us. It is never our intention to offend.

Here they are:

Media Agencies

  1. Mindshare
  2. OMD
  3. Starcom
  4. Mediavest
  5. Maxus
  6. MEC
  7. Mediacom
  8. PHD
  9. Carat
  10. Zenith
  11. Optimedia
  12. Universal McCann
  13. Horizon
  14. Initiative
  15. Havas
  16. MDC
  17. Vizium

The point is there is one agency for every client that is looking to move their business or at the very least assess their current situation.  However, when a search is launched, as many as a half dozen agencies (or more) can receive a Request For Proposal, three to four can make the cut for credentials and two to four will make the short list for final pitches. So the math is simple. Every agency that is capable of handling a large piece of business (especially a global account) will on average be filling out six RFPs, preparing four credentials presentations and three final spec presentations. That includes all the homework they have to do to gear up, all the assessment of staffing and resourcing new pieces of business and all of the behind the scenes discussions of what to charge and why.

With all this activity going on at the moment, our advice is: If you are contemplating a media agency review at the moment, but haven’t announced, don’t! It would be almost impossible to get the kind of attention you deserve given the current circumstances. Hold your breath and enjoy the summer, by the end of which this should all be over. Searches normally take only two and a half to four months.

Our advice is wait until the fourth quarter to announce and launch a review, finish by the end of the year and begin your new relationship with the New Year.

Here is what you can do over the summer in a more relaxed and deliberate manner to set the table for a smooth review in the fall:

  1. Select your Review Team and internal Steering Committee
  2. Get internal buy-in from your stakeholders
  3. Diligently write-up exactly what is wrong with the current arrangement so you don’t repeat the same mistakes
  4. Write a profile of the kind of agency you want
  5. Write a description of your company to hand to contending agencies – a business brief
  6. Write up a detailed scope of work to hand to finalists so they can staff, resource and make a sensible compensation proposal
  7. Consider and then prepare a challenge to hand to the finalist agencies that they can present their ideas against
  8. Go to the beach – often

Drexler/Fajen & Partners is in the business of managing media agency reviews, so our point of view in delaying action might seem counter to our interests. It is not. We want to see clients and agencies in healthy and long-lasting relationships. We will gladly help any client (behind the scenes – which is part of our mantra and in our logo) to set the table over the summer.

So think twice before leaping into the current chaos.  And go to the beach.

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