UPS Ships a Majority of Its Global Ad Business to IPG Without a Review

The Martin Agency and Initiative win creative, media for North America and Europe

Incumbent Ogilvy retained a portion of the business. Getty Images
Headshot of Erik Oster

UPS, or the United Parcel Service, has sent the majority of its creative and media accounts globally to IPG, without a review.

The Martin Agency will now serve as the global logistics company’s creative agency of record, with Initiative as its media AOR for North America and Europe.

The Martin Agency will be tasked with strategic brand and campaign strategy across the U.S., Canada and Europe, with the goal of helping UPS gain impact from its range of services and introducing specialized capabilities in markets including ecommerce, health care and life sciences. The agency previously served as UPS’ creative agency of record for roughly nine years, beginning in 2000.

More recently, the agency has handled select campaigns in Canada and Europe for the brand, beginning in October of 2016. Roughly a year ago, The Martin Agency dedicated its London office to exclusively servicing UPS in the region.

Ogilvy previously served as creative agency of record for UPS, following a review that concluded in October of 2009. That review followed an incident in which Martin Agency creative Andy Azula, who starred in the shop’s UPS ads, mentioned the client several times in a blog post summarizing his complaints about Delta Airlines’ customer service. Neo@Ogilvy also formerly handled media for the brand in the U.S.

“We value our longstanding relationship with UPS and look forward to continuing to partner for many years to come,” said an Ogilvy spokesperson who declined to elaborate further. The client’s press department did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

A source close to the matter claimed that Ogilvy remains on the UPS roster and will continue to handle a variety of services in unspecified regions.

“We have been enamored with UPS for close to 20 years. They are not a brand you’d immediately link to pop culture, but when you learn the amount of technology and scope of what they do, it is both surprising and fun,” The Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo said in a statement. “When we raced their big brown truck around a NASCAR track or showed up as a skit on SNL, it never felt forced or superficial because they define ‘industrial cool.’ The agency rejoiced when UPS chose us again.”

“As an agency focused on culture, it’s particularly gratifying to be working with such an iconic brand,” Initiative U.S. CEO Amy Armstrong said in a statement. “We are excited to drive business momentum with a tech-forward company and look forward to the overall partnership.”

UPS spent nearly $62 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2017 and a little over $37 million in the first nine months of 2018, according to Kantar Media.

Patrick Coffee contributed reporting to this story.


@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.
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