Major Agency Says No Thanks To Vodafone
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One of Australia’s leading advertising agencies has said “No Thanks” to Vodafone after being invited to to pitch for their advertising business.

Simone Bartley, Saatchi & Saatchi CEO, said in a statement: “Whilst it is undeniably a brilliant opportunity, we have re-evaluated our position and decided to focus on our current clients and other opportunities which we have in the pipeline. We wish Vodafone and their future agency all the very best.”

Leading Advertising Industry Source ADNews said “Just who that agency will be remains to be seen”. The five remaining agencies on the pitch list are believed to be Clemenger BBDO Sydney, BMF, Whybin TBWA, McCann Erickson and STW-owned incumbent One Barrack St.

A Vodafone spokesman said while Vodafone was “disappointed” at the Saatchi’s decision, it held the agency “in high esteem – they’re a world-class agency”. He added that the five agencies remaining in the pitch process all had “excellent credentials” and confirmed a shortlist would be drawn up as early as mid-next week.

ADNews went on to say that the the pitch is running to its original timeline, and is expected to conclude in October. “We certainly see Vodafone as a world-class brand, and we are looking for a world-class agency or group of agencies,” the spokesman said.

Clemenger BBDO Sydney is tipped as the hot favourite, largely due to fellow Clemenger-owned agency Colenso BBDO New Zealand’s recently increased role at the expense of Australian incumbent One Barrack St.

Colenso created the current “Fold” campaign for Vodafone, which is on high media rotation, and current Clemenger Sydney executive creative director Richard Maddocks worked on the Vodafone NZ account during his tenure at Colenso.

Vodafone again declined to comment on whether a pitch for Vodafone’s media account – currently held by Ikon – was in the making. Several media agencies have confirmed to AdNews that they are in discussions with Vodafone about its $30 million media business.