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BBDO Wins Bulk of ExxonMobil's Global Creative Business

UM is big winner in media

Exxon signage, circa 2001 | Photo by Tom Fox/Getty Images

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ExxonMobil's decision to shift the bulk of its global creative business to BBDO, and keep DDB on some of its fuels marketing, represents a big victory for the client's sole non-roster contender.

BBDO, which currently has no ExxonMobil business, picks up lubricants/chemicals and corporate image advertising from McCann Erickson and Euro RSCG, respectively. McCann also was a finalist for those assignments; Euro RSCG was cut from the lengthy review in July.

The big winner on the media side was Universal McCann, which retained its lubricants/chemicals assignment and added corporate image and fuels responsibilities from MPG and OMD, respectively. All told, ExxonMobil spends about $300 million globally on media each year. 

The creative and media assignments collectively represent about $50 million in revenue, making ExxonMobil one of the biggest reviews of the year. 

Planning for the contest began more than a year ago, when the oil giant first started talking to search consultants. In December, ExxonMobil hired Joanne Davis Consulting in New York to manage the process. 

Requests for proposals circulated in early 2011, and after meeting a broader group of creative contenders that included Euro RSCG, Publicis, and The Martin Agency, the client narrowed the field to the final three, which made presentations three months ago at ExxonMobil’s headquarters in Texas. 

While the decision is welcome news for BBDO, and UM in particular, any revenue gains won't likely be realized until next year, given the months it typically takes for agencies to hand off business. And DDB, which comes out of the review with at least some of its business intact—the retail marketing portion of ExxonMobil's fuels assignment—can now exhale after months of waiting and wondering.