NEW YORK UPS today said it has begun a a review of its global ad account, worth an estimated $150-200 million.
UPS domestic incumbent The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., an Interpublic Group shop, has been invited to participate along with an “an Interpublic Group solution,” the client said. UPS’ domestic major media spending slightly topped $100 million last year, down roughly $30 million from 2007, per Nielsen.
In a statement, the client said current roster shops McCann Erickson, Universal McCann and MRM, all units of IPG, will not be included in the review.
According to UPS, the review will cover “global advertising, media buying, relationship marketing and digital services.”
The AAR Group consultancy in London is leading the search.
UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, has been “very unhappy” with McCann’s unwillingness to deliver on activation and digital solutions the client feels is very important in driving business growth outside the U.S., according to sources. In the current economic climate the marketer also feels McCann “needed more nimbleness and willingness to share UPS’s pain and become more efficient,” a source said. It is understood that the agency has been aware of the marketer’s concerns over the past 90 days, but the unraveling of the business relationship over the past three weeks still came as a surprise to McCann.
Separately, UPS is also said to be adopting a new “hub” approach in its international marketing and feels it doesn’t necessarily need a global network. McCann, which has worked for UPS for close to 21 years, primarily handles the international business out of its London office.
A rep for McCann referred calls to AAR.
Conversely, sources said UPS is “very happy” with Martin, a company which received a Nascar assignment from the company in 2000 and a year later was chosen to handle UPS’s domestic advertising. In 2003, UPS awarded its U.S. media planning and buying to the shop. Among the UPS pitches Martin has produced are “What can Brown do for you?,” the “Whiteboard” campaign and the Nascar “Race the truck” series.
A Martin rep confirmed the agency’s participation in the review saying, “We’re looking forward to the chance to work with UPS around the world.”
He declined further comment and wouldn’t share details of what the IPG “solution” would be added: “We’re part of [IPG] with 43,000 people in major world markets and that’s a powerful resource.” The agency has produced international work for clients such as Seiko, Finlandia Vodka, Sprint, Timberland and Saab.
In the statement Christine Owens, UPS svp, communications and brand management, said of the company’s parting of ways with McCann:
“We value the relationships that we’ve had with our current agencies and we’re proud of the work that McCann Erickson has done on UPS’ behalf. We appreciate their years of good service. We want to explore new approaches to maximizing the impact of our communications in today’s complex media environment.” –with Mark Dolliver
This story updates an earlier item with additional quotes and details.