Spark has confirmed the decision to shift its media account from Dynamo to PHD.
“Eighteen months ago we began the process of reviewing our agencies, and this is really just a continuation of that,” says Spark spokesperson Lydia Tebbutt.
“Dynamo has been an excellent partner, but we’re now looking forward to partnering with PHD who we feel are really well aligned with where we see ourselves going.”
Spark is understood to have been the single biggest account on Dynamo’s ledger, accounting for a significant chunk of the agency’s overall revenue.*
According to Nielsen’s rate card figures, Spark had the highest cumulative media spend among the three major telcos over the last three years.
For the year ended February 2017, Spark spent $40.25 million to Vodafone’s $39.82 million and 2Degrees’ $17.65 million.
The loss of the telco, in particular, is expected to result in the agency being downscaled significantly.
StopPress contacted Dynamo general manager Drew DeSantis and head of client services Mike Harrison who declined to comment on the changes at the agency, referring StopPress to OMD chief executive Kath Watson and PHD chief executive Louise Bond.
One source did reveal to StopPress that some of the staff working on Spark at Dynamo will be moving with the account to PHD.
Asked whether the loss of Spark could potentially lead to Dynamo being closed down, the source said it's more likely to stay open as a smaller operation focusing on other clients.
Watson reiterated these sentiments in an email this afternoon, saying: "For various reasons, next month the Spark media business will move within Omnicom Media Group NZ to PHD. The Dynamo staff currently working on Spark will move with the business to PHD. Dynamo has a portfolio of more than twenty clients. The rest of the staff, who work across these clients, will continue to do so. Dynamo is not closing down nor have any staff been made redundant."
StopPress understands that Harrison will be among those making the transition across to PHD, but this is not the case for DeSantis, who is set to stay with Dynamo.
Speaking to StopPress this afternoon, Bond welcomed the arrival of this new client and said the team was looking forward to the challenge.
"Telcos are clients that always offer a lot of opportunity," she said.
This move by Spark comes off the back of a number of major strategic shifts made by Spark general manager of marketing Clive Ormerod since his arrival at the telco.
In addition to shifting the media account, he also moved creative and strategy from Saatchi & Saatchi to Colenso BBDO and Shine, respectively, as well as moving the below-the-line business from Rapp (now Track) to Proximity BBDO (which along with Touchcast was later integrated into Colenso).
*Correction: This story originally incorrectly stated there was a three-way pitch between PHD, OMD and Dynamo. There was, in fact, an internal review within Omnicom NZ to determine the best solution for Spark. This story has been updated accordingly.