Oil and energy giant Shell is reviewing its global media agency assignment, the client has confirmed. The incumbent is WPP’s MediaCom, which has handled some or all of the account for more than a decade.
The client spends an estimated $250 million on ads worldwide. In the U.S., Shell spent $74 million on ads in 2010 and $43 million for the first nine months of 2011, per Kantar Media.
Confirming the review, a client rep said: “Mediacom has managed the Shell global media-buying account since 2005. During this time, there have been significant changes in the media landscape and as such, it is the right time to review all options.”
Sources familiar with the situation said the client is talking to just a few competing media shops at this point, as well as the incumbent. It has not yet requested that agencies complete a formal RFP process. Meetings have been scheduled for the weeks ahead, however, and the shops have been requested to supply briefs for those meetings.
“It’s a procurement-driven process,” said one source who is familiar with the proceedings. “At this point, it is not a formal review process, although it very well could turn into one.”
On the other hand, dependent on the economy, the client could make a decision based on the upcoming meetings and forgo the formal review process with RFPs and rounds of presentations, which can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Shell’s last global media review occurred in 2005, just as MediaCom and parent Grey Advertising were being acquired by WPP. MediaCom, the defending incumbent, and WPP’s Maxus entered the review with separate and competing pitches, but ended up combining efforts and winning the account. They ran it via a dedicated unit called Shell Team Media.
Over the last couple of years, however, the client has moved the entire account to MediaCom.