Bell Canada has moved its media account from Cossette to Media Experts, which until recently was the media agency for telecom rival Telus.
While rumours about the switch started circulating earlier this month, both Bell and Media Experts declined to comment.
However, an informed source confirmed to Marketing Wednesday that the deal was done and Media Experts would begin working on the account in late October.
It is not clear if Media Experts had already parted with Telus when the Bell offer came in, or if it resigned the account to pick up the Bell business. However, the source confirmed Bell moved the account to Media Experts without a competitive review.
Telus would not say if it has hired a new agency to replace Media Experts or if it is still conducting a review.
According to Nielsen, Bell Canada spent about $89.5 million on measured media in 2009, compared to about $88.9 million by Telus.
Asked about reasons for moving from Cossette to Media Experts, the source said Bell marketers wanted an agency focused solely on media with a reputation for great work and innovative thinking.
“Media Experts has a pretty big reputation as media buying experts. The opportunity presented itself to work with them and [Bell] leapt at it.”
And while the split with Telus ends a relationship dating back to 1996, when Media Experts began working on Clearnet (subsequently acquired by Telus in 2000), the agency has a history with the Bell marketing brain trust as well. Before joining Bell, chief brand officer Wade Oosterman and senior vice-president of brand Rick Seifeddine, both had lengthy careers at Telus, as did Bell CEO George Cope.
Employees at Cossette were being notified of the account loss today. Cossette’s Blitz will continue to work on Bell’s direct response and CRM data management business. Bell is the second sizeable media client to leave Cossette in recent weeks after Coke moved its business to Universal McCann.
“We are enormously proud of the body of media work that we have achieved during our 28-year partnership with Bell,” wrote Cossette president Brett Marchand in a memo to staff. “We have initiated innovative industry ‘firsts’ across all media channels and we have amassed an impressive array of top domestic and international awards, while also building an enviable track record of major business successes.
“We have all come to accept that client/agency relationships in our industry are never cut-and-dried. Relationships have come under increased scrutiny in recent years and while change is always a possible outcome, this means not only potential loss but also increased opportunity.”