AXA Group reviews its £150m global media arrangements

LONDON - AXA Group, the French finance and insurance giant, has invited its main UK incumbent agencies Mindshare and MPG to compete in a consolidating review of its global media requirements, valued in the region of £150m.

AXA: reviewing media arrangements
AXA: reviewing media arrangements

The local review concerns AXA's £30m media business in the UK, the bulk of which is handled by WPP's Mindshare. The review process is being handled by Creative Brief and led by AXA's group marketing director Olivier Mariee.

It encompasses all of AXA's flagship brands, including online insurer Swiftcover (offline incumbent Initiative), the life and pensions business Sun Life Direct (MPG and All Response Media) and the AXA-branded life, health and general insurance businesses (Mindshare).

Based on revenue, AXA was last ranked as the 15th-largest company in the world, with major operations in Western Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. Last year, it managed total assets of £940bn and 65 million clients around the world.

In the 12 months to the 31 March 2009, AXA UK spent £28m on media, according to The Nielsen Company, including £11m on press, £10m on TV and £4m on outdoor.

It includes £5.3m of ad spend for AXA's Swiftcover, fronted by American rocker Iggy Pop.

It is unclear at this stage whether the firm will perceive any conflict between its own media business and that of Zurich, an account AXA's biggest UK incumbent Mindshare is expected to win later this month.

The media review forms part of an attempt by AXA to rationalise its entire marketing services, which includes an additional £15m worth of direct marketing business in the UK. The individual markets will be hosting their own reviews and it is unclear if an attempt to consolidate multi-market accounts will follow.

AXA was unavailable for comment.

The firm is the latest financial brand to seek a change in its media arrangements.

Zurich is poised to award its estimated £100m global account to WPP's Mindshare after a final two-way pitch against Aegis Media, while Publicis Groupe's Starcom landed the £50m global planning and buying duties for RSA, formerly known as Royal & Sun Alliance, after a shoot-out against incumbent UM.

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