Marriott International has appointed Publicis Groupe’s SapientRazorfish and Spark Foundry as its global media agencies of record to oversee all media planning and purchasing after a review that began last year.
MEC, now part of GroupM’s Wavemaker, previously handled media planning and buying for the lodging giant.
The agencies will shepherd the account via a dedicated unit called Marriott One Media which will work with the client’s internal media teams around the world.
“We are excited to welcome Publicis Groupe in their new, expanded role, and work together to break new ground,” said Karin Timpone, global marketing officer of Marriott International. “I also want to thank Wavemaker, who has provided valuable strategic guidance in media, successfully working with us to launch several award-winning campaigns.”
Marriott merged with Starwood Hotels last year to become the world’s largest hotel company, which the client noted was a key factor in deciding to hold the pitch. Marriott generated $17 billion in revenue in its fiscal 2016. It now has 30 lodging brands across 5,700 properties in 110 countries.
In addition to its namesake hotel chain, those brands include Bulgari Hotels and Resorts, Westin, Le Meridien and Ritz-Carlton.
Marriott noted that this scale enabled it to reevaluate both internal and partner operating models in relation to paid media. As a result, a global marketing optimization team led by Andy Kauffman was created internally to drive greater marketing and media effectiveness.
"This is a rare opportunity to reimagine our marketing practices in the digital age, and we are confident that Publicis Groupe will help us achieve this vision," added Timpone. "We’re combining our forces to develop cutting-edge marketing tactics that speak to individual guests worldwide. This personalization at scale will provide enormous value to our business.”
Marriott spent more than $232 million on ads in the U.S. in 2016, according to Kantar Media. Global spend was not available. The RFP covered paid media only.