Skip to main content
News Plus 26 May 2022 - 4 min read

Accenture Song strikes media alliance with Initiative for flagship Coles integrated marketing contract to take on Omnicom, Publicis

By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor
Mark Green, Mel Fine, Mark Coad

Same song: Accenture Song's Mark Green, Initiative's Mel Feine and Mediabrands' Mark Coad remain tight-lipped on their media alliance to win this year's largest marketing services contract at Coles.

Omnicom, Publicis and Accenture Song have completed their proposals and pitches to Coles on its giant integrated creative, media, CX and production tender – worth upwards of $20m in annual revenues to the winning holdco. Accenture Song was a late bidder after WPP was forced to pull out over conflict but had stumped observers on how it would deliver media buying and planning without its own capabilities. An alliance with Mediabrands-owned Initiative is the outlier's solution.

The newly-badged Accenture Song has struck a media alliance with Mediabrands’ Initiative in its bid to land the full-service marketing contract for Coles, which sees it competing head-on with Publicis and Omnicom, Mi3 understands. 

All three groups have completed their pitches and submitted proposals to Coles in the past two weeks with some expecting the supermarket giant to make a decision in June.

Omnicom's OMD and DDB are defending large parts of the Coles business in media and creative and are understood to have created a bespoke production unit to service the expanded remit. 

Accenture Song and its creative shop The Monkeys is considered a strong competitor in digital and creative services but does not have a media unit, a key capability needed to win the Coles tender which is likely to be the biggest marketing services contract this year.

The review is being led by Coles recently appointed General Manager for Brand Digital and Design, Samantha McLeod, who returned to Australia from London working on accounts including Tesco at top ad agencies like BBH and Mother. McLeod told Mi3 in March there was "no firm deadline" for a decision on a winner and a Coles spokesperson yesterday said there was no update on timing.      

Accenture Song ANZ Lead Mark Green would not comment on the Initiative alliance. Mediabrands CEO Mark Coad and Initiative boss Mel Fein took the same position. 

“I can’t comment,” Green told Mi3. “We have a plan, we’ve done our pitch and we wait and see.”

The relationship between Accenture Song and Initiative is not virgin territory – Initiative won IAG’s $50m media account from WPP’s Mindshare last July and has been working with IAG’s lead creative agency, The Monkeys.  

Green, a co-founder of The Monkeys before it was acquired by Accenture Interactive in 2017 for $63m, would not be drawn on any plans for Accenture Song to build out future media capabilities across Australia and New Zealand. It is a notable gap in the group’s arsenal to compete with established marketing services groups like WPP, Omnicom, IPG and Publicis on large integrated contracts like Coles, which are gaining momentum among blue chip advertisers.  

Accenture Song, rebranded earlier this month under its new global boss and Australian expat David Droga, does have a programmatic media buying unit for global clients but its local activities are unknown. 

Share your reaction (and see how others voted)

Leave a comment (you must be logged in)

Be the first to comment

Search Mi3 Articles

Make it personal

Join Mi3 to receive our weekly edition and personalise your experience