Software giant SAP has selected Omnicom Media Group as its global media agency of record.
Omnicom will service the client through a dedicated North Star unit comprising resources across multiple media agencies. Omnicom Media Group’s PHD was the incumbent agency and will continue servicing the account for an interim period. Some talent from PHD will continue to work with SAP as part of the North Star unit. Omnicom agency BBDO has served as SAP’s creative agency of record since 2014 following a review that also sent media to PHD. SAP spent around $17 million globally on media last year, according to data consultancy COMvergence.
The appointment follows a competitive review in partnership with ID Comms that began last fall and included other holding company media agencies and smaller shops, according to Alicia Tillman, who has served as SAP’s CMO for around three years. She explained that the process slowed down during the height of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year before ramping up again.
“We thought it was important for us to have a well-rounded mix [of agencies], especially when it came to what they prioritized as their greatest capabilities,” Tillman said. “It was an interesting process because it also enabled us to crystallize what made the most sense for us.”
The decision to revaluate its media agency partnership came at a transitional moment for the brand.
“The timing felt right for me to take a closer look at our agency model. A huge objective of ours is continuing to evolve our story and show up differently as a brand,” Tillman said, while also mentioning the brand’s aspirations to become a 300 billion euro (roughly $352 billion) company within a few years and become one of the 10 most valuable companies in the world.
“This is a transformative moment for SAP, requiring a transformative approach. With North Star, we’re expanding the foundation built by PHD over the past five years to create a reenvisioned solution,” OMD Worldwide CEO Florian Adamski, who led the cross-network pitch team, said in a statement to Adweek. Adamski added that the solution encompassed a connected cross-agency network enabling a global vision for SAP’s media buying and planning while maintaining local specificity.
Tillman said SAP was candid during the review process in its belief that agency fees were too high and operational models needlessly complex. She explained SAP ultimately selected Omnicom Media Group because of the agency’s revitalized operational model, its offering bringing together talent from across the network, the strength of its data and analytics platform Omni and its global scale and reach.
“They expressed a focus of evolving Omnicom Media Group into a model where it sits alongside of the business and creating a structure that is modeled after exactly where we want to take the company,” Tillman said, “less a standard way of operating and more of a customized approach based on what we’re trying to do.”
That customized approach arrives at a time when Tillman says she has had to reshape the company’s priorities for 2020.
“It was a very different year from what we had set out to achieve. While we’re operating a lot differently and I have reduced spend significantly across the team, there is one area where I have put focus, and it’s telling the story of SAP that matters to people right now,” she said.
Tillman said that meant focusing on what SAP is doing to help people navigate their lives during the pandemic, including telling the story of how it has opened up its portfolio of products with some free services, and its response to systemic racism amid ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. Tillman said the company has launched SAP Spotlight Black Businesses with over 150 companies already nominated and is partnering with Omnicom to dedicate a portion of its ad spending to highlighting these businesses in August and September.