Commbank renews AKQA Media (Ikon) contract after 21 years, hybrid in-house programmatic and search model stays, BankWest follows with creative and media
WPP’s recently merged Ikon, now AKQA Media, will see its tenure on Commbank’s master media contract touch 25 years after the current deal was extended until 2024.
What you need to know:
- Ikon, rebadged AKQA Media earlier this year after a merger of WPP units, was first appointed in 1999 as a challenger to the media agency establishment.
- Commbank took buying for its programatic and search media in-house about five years ago but AKQA Media handles planning. Main media planning and buying is managed by AKQA Media and was just appointed for another three years.
- Although the hybrid in-housing model for the bank hit some turbulence in the early years, it is said to be a now well-oiled machine between the bank and AKQA Media teams.
- BankWest, owned by Commbank, also renewed its full service contract with AKQA Media covering creative and media duties. VMLY&R's creative boss Paul Nagy is the creative lead for BankWest but creative duties are assigned to various WPP agencies.
- Former Commbank CMO Monique Macleod, now heading marketing and corporate affairs, is a long-time backer of the agency and its veteran bank lead, Pat Crowley, who has worked directly on the bank's business for close to 20 years at Ikon and now AKQA Media.
Against a raft of rivals circling the blue chip media buying and planning contract, Commonwealth Bank has extended its term with AKQA Media for another three years.
The bank moved to a hybrid in-housing media model about five years ago when it took its programmatic ad buying and search in-house, although AKQA’s 35-head bank unit still handles planning for digital and programmatic media.
Commbank-owned BankWest also renewed its combined creative and media contract with AKQA Media in which creative resources are tapped from other agency brands in the broader WPP group. VMLY&R’s Paul Nagy acts as the creative lead on BankWest, outside his agency.
AKQA’s integrated BankWest model was an early win in Ikon’s expanded remit to combine creative and media under Sir Martin Sorrell’s “horizontality” operating mantra at WPP before he was turfed by his board in 2018.
After landing the Commonwealth Bank as a start-up partner in July 1999 under then marketing boss Graeme Ford, Ikon’s founders Gary Hardwick and Simon White agreed to an 18-month exclusive term for the bank and sold a majority stake in their shop to John Singleton’s STW, later WPP, in 2006 in a multi-million million windfall for the media agency founders.
Industry predictions of a break-up between the two parties have been cyclically feverish leading into each contract renewal term and under previous marketing regimes, the hold by the then Ikon on the bank business was said to be under significant pressure at certain points.
When the bank took digital buying in-house, partly on expectations of 30-40 per cent media savings and, today, to more tightly control its first party customer data flows, many called the end of Ikon’s tenure.
But Commbank’s Chief Marketing Officer, Monique Macleod, who just had her remit expanded to include the bank’s powerful corporate affairs remit as Group Executive, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, is a long-time backer of Ikon and veteran agency lead on the bank’s business, Pat Crowley, who’s worked on Commbank for close to 20 years.
AKQA Media and Commbank declined to comment on the renewed deal.
Building mental availability in audio has never been more challenging. Once-traditional radio businesses are now competing with video, streaming and social media content – but audio has some powerful strengths in that battle. As NOVA Entertainment’s Adam Johnson writes, the ‘Place’ in McCarthy’s ‘Four Ps’ is key with quality content and ubiquitous access –physical availability – driving marketers’ goals through audio.
Patagonia’s repairs, New Balance’s leather leading as consumers’ vote with wallets for future value – conscience and commerce key
What can Benjamin Franklin, the ‘Green Revolution’ and consumer purpose teach us about future value? A lot, writes VMLY&R’s Troy Nicoll. In the third instalment of VMLY&R’s value series, he says brands that move last will be remembered – negatively. And those that understand ‘value’ as being a holistic, long-term relationship with consumers – like Patagonia and New Balance – will help reimagine marketing thinking. People are already voting with their wallets out of principle, identity, and survival.
There’s an unfair image of Millennials out there that paints them as poor financial managers, economics journalist Jess Irvine says. But they’re hungrier for information and advice than any generation before them. Despite this, a new survey from Nine has found that they’re becoming less sure of themselves. And with more than seven million Australians aged 18 to 39 set to inherit $320,000 each over the next 20 years – that’s $3.5 trillion in total – the brands that share smart information that doesn’t oversimplify things can help these Millennials – and themselves.