We Hear: ExxonMobil Moves a Portion of Its Brand Work from DDB to BBDO

By Patrick Coffee 

As its soon-to-be-former CEO prepares to lead the State Department, energy giant ExxonMobil has moved a portion of its marketing business from DDB to BBDO in an inter-Omnicom shift.

In 2011, the company concluded a lengthy review by adding the latter agency to its roster in what amounted to a significant win. BBDO beat out Havas and McCann for the bulk of the global creative business while DDB remained on the client’s roster to handle below the line work or “fuels marketing.” ExxonMobil also consolidated its media business with UM at that time.

BBDO generally doesn’t promote its Exxon work; for example, we got a pitch for this “Be An Engineer” campaign from the production company back in January. But it’s a big chunk of business as the company spent around $300 million on global marketing in 2011, according to the original Adweek story.

Kantar Media’s U.S. paid media numbers for ExxonMobil are less impressive as the company spent an estimated $116 million in 2015 and only $8 million during the first half of 2016. These totals do, however, fit a pattern in which the company’s spend jumps significantly in the latter months of a given year.

Spokespeople for both agencies deferred to the client, whose representatives have not responded to queries this week. Since we don’t have official word from Exxon, it’s not clear why this move came about or who made the ultimate decision.

But we hear that the change will occur as of January 1st and that DDB’s contract extends into 2017 with the agency retaining an unspecified portion of the overall business. Several parties close to the account also confirm that DDB New York let a small number of staffers go after the client made the shift. The total was allegedly in the single digits.