Government confirms MG OMD media hire

Manning Gottlieb OMD

The UK government has awarded its media-buying contract to Manning Gottlieb OMD in a four-year deal worth up to £600m that aims to “set the global standard for transparency”.

Alex Aiken, the executive director of Government Communications, who ran the statutory review, said that the new framework would benefit citizens, improve transparency in the media supply chain, especially in programmatic buying, and help to fight fake news.

Aiken announced the appointment of Manning Gottlieb OMD in an article for Campaign in which he explained that the Government’s communications team sees media as an important way to counter “disinformation” and fake news.

The Government set out to run a review that could be an example to the rest of the ad industry after a botched 2014 process ended up being challenged by WPP in the High Court.

Aiken’s team consulted agencies and leading brands, including Unilever, O2, Nestlé, BT and Direct Line, in the run-up to review and used PwC as a consultant – as well as adopting some of the principles of ISBA’s media agency framework contract.

The Government said the new media-buying contract would take “a new approach to purchase advertising, particularly around digital ‘programmatic’ buying of online space” and “higher standards and transparent practices are at the heart of the new contract”.
Aiken said: “We are delighted to award this important contract to Manning Gottlieb OMD, which will enable us to continue to be a leader in creative, informative, transformative campaigns for the public good.

“This new contract was designed following extensive consultation and will deliver a more transparent, open and accountable way of advertising, ensuring that every pound spent provides value for money to the UK taxpayer.

“We have delivered world-class campaigns over the last four years with our current partner, Carat, and I thank them for all of their hard work.”

Tim Pearson, chief executive of Manning Gottlieb OMD, said: “We are immensely proud to embark on this progressive new partnership with HM Government that will set the global standard for transparency and outcomes-focused buying.

“Our new team will sit within Manning Gottlieb OMD, combining the scale of Omnicom Media Group with the intelligent application of Manning Gottlieb OMD.”

Manning Gottlieb OMD will take over from Carat in November.

The Omnicom-owned agency is expected to deliver around 100 campaigns a year and the total value of the media-buying is between £560m and £600m over the four-year contract, according to the Government Communication Service.

Manning Gottlieb OMD becomes the third agency to take on the contract in just eight years, after WPP started work on the consolidated business in 2010 and Carat picked up the contract in a hotly contested review in 2014.

It is the biggest win in the 28-year history of Manning Gottlieb OMD, which was founded by Colin Gottlieb, now the chief executive of Omnicom Media Group EMEA, and Nick Manning, now the vice-president of Media Link in Europe.
Other Manning Gottlieb OMD clients include John Lewis and Specsavers.

This article by Gideon Spanier was originally published in Campaign.