Mediaedge:cia secures £76m offline account from Orange

LONDON - Mediaedge:cia has scooped Orange's £76m offline media planning and buying account after a final shoot-out against Vizeum, while three-year incumbent I-Level has retained its £25m digital direct duties.

MEC will now handle all brand media for the mobile company, previously handled by Interpublic's Initiative, as well as the estimated £1.5m digital brand planning and buying business, formerly run by I-Level.

The appointments follow a four-month pitch process in which incumbent Initiative was knocked out before the final shoot-out. Havas' Media Planning Group, Aegis Group's Carat and M&C Saatchi's Walker Media were eliminated at an earlier stage.

Justin Billingsley, UK brand marketing director at Orange, confirmed it had been a "highly contested pitch", with the final round of the review considering different combinations of MEC, Vizeum and I-Level.

"We are confident that our decision will drive better media integration and that our media planning and buying will be as innovative as our creative execution," said the former Coca-Cola marketer. "All of which supports delivering on our new brand vision of ‘together we can do more'."

Last year, Orange spent £11m on digital marketing, according to figures from Nielsen Media, but the true figure is understood to be more than double, at £25m. The telecoms giant is expected to increase the share of its budget allocated to digital in 2009.

Orange will now begin a transition process between outgoing agency Initiative, I-Level and Mediaedge:cia in order to have a fully operational and integrated team in place for January 2009.
I-Level, led since 2007 by chief executive David Pattison, has held the direct response account since 2005, when it resigned BT's £5m digital business to avoid any conflict.

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