Virgin Media O2 awards £115m media account to MG OMD

Virgin Media O2 has awarded its media planning and buying business to Manning Gottlieb OMD following a competitive pitch.

The review consolidates media planning and buying duties to one agency following last year’s merger of two of the UK’s largest telcos – Virgin Media and O2, a joint venture between their respective parent companies Liberty Global and Telefónica.

The consolidated media business is estimated to have annual media billings north of £115m, making it one of the largest accounts in the UK and the largest UK media review this year.

Virgin Media’s media agency MG OMD won the business in a closely fought battle with Havas Media (the incumbent of O2) and Group M’s Mindshare. MediaSense helped facilitate the pitch process.

In March, VCCP London (which has served O2 since the agency’s foundation 20 years ago) fended off Adam & Eve/DDB to win the consolidated creative account.

Both VCCP London and MG OMD were chosen to launch Volt last year, a new joint venture brand in the Virgin Media O2 stable.

MG OMD will handle media planning and buying for all Virgin Media O2’s consumer brands from the start of 2023.

“We’d like to thank all of the agencies involved in the pitch process and give special thanks to Havas which, as the incumbent agency to the O2 and Giffgaff brands, has been a successful and creative partner for many years,” a Virgin Media O2 spokesperson said.

MG OMD’s hot streak

The win continues an impressive run for MG OMD chief executive Natalie Bell and her team, who have won the British Airways, Pernod Ricard and Motorway media accounts, while retaining John Lewis Partnership and the government’s media buying business.

“We’ve had such a successful partnership with Virgin Media for over two decades, and most recently worked on the joint Virgin Media O2 launch for Volt, so we are thrilled to extend the partnership further with both O2 and Giffgaff,” Bell said.

“[They are] all incredible brands, with such an exciting joint future ahead of them.”

Havas Media Group has worked with O2 since 2015 and continues to work with Telefónica across its other markets.

Recently the agency helped O2 raise awareness about its Net Zero commitments in a media campaign that has been featured in Campaign’s Media Spotlight.

“We’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved together over the years, award-winning work which has led the category,” Havas Media Group UK & Ireland chief executive Patrick Affleck said.

“We wish O2 and Giffgaff all the best for 2023 and beyond.”

News of the Virgin Media O2 media pitch result surfaced two days after rival telco Vodafone retained Carat as its global media agency.

This article was originally posted on Campaign

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