Fossil Consolidates Global Media With Assembly

It began its four-month media review with 15 agencies on its roster before reorganizing with the Stagwell shop

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After a global media review spanning more than four months, Fossil Group is consolidating its account with the Stagwell agency Assembly. The brand is winding down its regional relationships with 15 agencies and will now entrust Assembly with its integrated media management and data and measurement duties across all of its paid channels.

“This has been a big shift, Fossil svp and chief marketing officer, Lisa Marie Pillette told ADWEEK. “We have 12 owned and licensed brands under our group, and so we were looking for a very strong, globally integrated media agency that we could work with,” she said.

The CMO needed a scrappy partner with an impressive tech stack and a global operating model.

“We had a number of different agencies, all driven by regional needs. We were a regionally-led model, and it was a very different type of structure,” Pillette said. “We had different agencies across all different parts of marketing that we were working with. It was a very fragmented structure.”

Assembly global CEO Rick Acampora and his team competed with nine other agencies at the RFI stage before Fossil narrowed the competition down to Assembly, PMG and mSix&Partners (now T&Pm). Fossil had previously worked with mSix in the EMEA region. Pillette declined to share the account size, although COMvergence estimated Fossil’s 2023 digital media spend at $15 million in the U.S.

Acampora described Fossil’s pitch process as rigorous, but one of the best-run reviews he’s ever participated in. The Fossil team eschewed a pitch consultant during the process and spent time writing evaluation criteria. Pillette ensured Fossil’s internal team aligned on priorities, and that senior brand executives attended the pitches.

Consolidating with one partner

Since joining the company, Pillette has been excited to change Fossil’s marketing operations. Her role at the brand has evolved—from a center of excellence to a strong operator within the organization. She’s previously worked with multiple agencies, with experience in performance and brand media.

Like Fossil, Stagwell has built up its global operating model, adding more partner agencies in various geographies and broadening its portfolio with M&A. Consolidating agencies made sense for Pillette, who recently centralized Fossil’s marketing operational model to make brand goals clearer to all regions.

“We’ve been transitioning to a global operating model ourselves, so this was this was a decision to maximize that model,” Pillette said.

We weren’t optimizing, in any way, the role of media in an organization,” Pillette said of the company’s strategy before reorganizing. “You know, we weren’t thinking globally. We weren’t thinking at scale. We weren’t thinking, ‘How do we talk to audiences?’ We weren’t leveraging our first-party data as best we could,” Pillette said.

Fossil, with its brand portfolio, serves a variety of consumers. Some of the brand’s buyers are fashion-focused, while others prioritize luxury. Connecting and speaking clearly to those different consumers is a big priority for Pillette, who is now considering how to run more personalized content at scale.

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