New Zealand Post and its in-house subsidiary Kiwibank have announced plans to bring their media accounts together, and several agencies are currently involved in a pitch for the new combined account.
Until now, New Zealand Post's media account has been held by Starcom, while Kiwibank's account has been penned into the ledger of Ikon.
The conflation of the two disparate accounts means that both agencies will have to put forward a pitch if they are interested in working on the new account.
According to Kiwibank's head of marketing communications and content Regan Savage, the pitching process started on 9 May when the request for proposal (RFP) was first issued and he says that New Zealand Post and Kiwibank are "aiming to wrap it up by the end of June".
"[By the end of this process], a new agency will be responsible for all aspects of the combined media account, or we may choose to appoint specialist social media and search engine marketing agencies. This depends entirely on how the RFP process unfolds," says savage.
Savage would not say which agencies were involved in the pitch, and this 'no comment' approach was also used by Starcom and Ikon.
"In terms of Starcom and re-pitching, we would actually prefer not to comment on that publicly. We obviously have Westpac as a long-standing client and so need to manage that dialogue/understand the RFP requirements a bit more," says Starcom's chief executive Alistair Jamison.
Emma Bolser, Ikon's general manager, was also contacted to share her thoughts on the possibility of pitching for the new account, but she is yet to respond to our questions.
Despite the prospect of potentially losing an account, Jamison says that the move "makes sense for New Zealand Post".
"They have a few pretty obvious challenges in the business and so leveraging the total group and taking a greater portfolio view a no-brainer really. Obviously, from our point of view we don’t like clients pitching but fundamentally understand why they are doing this and New Zealand Post have been very clear on signalling their intentions. It's not a surprise at all."
Savage says that the decision to combine the accounts was made to "maximise the buying power" of New Zealand Post and Kiwibank. "We are one group so it made sense to align the accounts and achieve better value for money," he explained.
While this marks a significant change for Kiwibank and New Zealand Post, Savage says that it will not impact the respective operations in any way beyond the media accounts.
"This doesn’t signal any change in how Kiwibank and New Zealand Post will operate, aside from maximising efficiency of our media spend. We have two separate brands and two separate marketing teams that serve the different needs of the two organisations."