WPP pulls out of defence of Facebook global media account

Facebook’s relationship with Mindshare looks set to come to an end after the WPP-owned agency pulled out of the tech giant’s global media agency review.

Dentsu, which is also an incumbent for Facebook, remains in contention along with Havas Group and Publicis Groupe, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first broke the news that WPP’s media-buying arm, Group M, was pulling out of the review.

Facebook’s “request for strict contractual terms” had contributed to the decision to withdraw, the WSJ said.

A Facebook spokesperson told Campaign: “We’ve partnered with Mindshare for global media planning and buying across our brand portfolio since 2014 and are proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish together.

“We’re sorry that Group M has decided to withdraw from the RFP process. However we look forward to continuing to partner with their talented team as we move forward with our review of global media capabilities.”

Group M told the WSJ: “While we will not be participating in the review, we look ahead to future opportunities building on the successful work we created together since 2014.”

There was no comment about contractual terms but it is commonplace for a client and an agency to negotiate over issues such as control of data and guarantees about media pricing.

Facebook’s review, which launched in March, is being handled by ID Comms.

According to research consultancy Comvergence, the account is worth $750m (£545m).

Facebook increased its total global adspend in 2020 by 44% to $2.26bn (£1.64bn), in contrast to Amazon, Google and Netflix, which all cut their spend.

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Mindshare is currently defending a number of other major accounts including Unilever.

Group M, the world’s biggest advertising buyer, has prided itself on having Google and Facebook, the world’s two biggest media owners, as media clients as well as dealing with them as media vendors.

After winning Facebook as a client in 2014, Group M picked up Google as a client in 2015 via its acquisition of Essence, which is Google’s digital agency.

WPP agencies have also handled other duties for Facebook and its subisidiaries in the past. Instagram appointed Ogilvy for creative work in 2019.

WPP will continue to spend billions of dollars a year on behalf of clients who advertise on Facebook, which had $84bn in ad sales in 2020.



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