Nationwide Consolidates Media Duties at Interpublic's UM

Planning and Digital Media-Buying Were at Dentsu's McKinney, Publicis Groupe's Rosetta, Respectively

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After a review that began in March, Nationwide Insurance has consolidated media duties with UM. The Interpublic Group of Cos.' shop will now handle digital and traditional media-planning and buying, as well as analytics.

Cheil-owned McKinney was the incumbent for media planning, while Publicis Groupe's Rosetta had supported digital-media buying. Nationwide has worked with UM, the incumbent on the traditional buying business, for 15 years. The shift will not impact McKinney, the lead creative agency for Nationwide, beyond media planning.

Agencies either referred calls to the client or couldn't immediately be reached.

Nationwide spends about $300 million on measured media in the U.S., said Nationwide CMO Matt Jauchius .

The insurance giant invited incumbents and outside firms to pitch for either the entire scope of the business or only pieces of it. "Some bid on a piece while others bid on the whole set," said Mr. Jauchius. "It was during this process where we finalized our perspective that in truth, piecemealing this [work] didn't make sense for us anymore."

The consolidation is in line with a strategy to create more "economies of scale," which is necessary not just in terms of cost efficiencies but also in attracting top talent, he said. "I spent six months to a year looking at the broad media space. What's happening with the digital world, and the availability of data and analytics, has made scale and highly skilled practitioners coming together more important."

Mr. Jauchius made it clear back in March he wanted to keep his options open during the pitch, and that the company reserved "the right to consolidate all traditional and digital planning and buying -- or to keep it piecemeal as we deem appropriate." That said, it's not the first time Nationwide decided to stick with an existing agency. When the Columbus, Ohio-based insurer last reviewed media and creative in 2009, it held onto both UM and McKinney.

What made UM attractive for the broadened scope-of-work this time around was the shop's scale, the team it presented during the pitch and its media optimization capabilities, especially as Nationwide prepares to boost its analytics activity, said Mr. Jauchius.

Going forward, that budget could grow, he added. He also expects the team to focus more on analytics. Currently, TV spending accounts for about 70% of the company's marketing while 30% is spent on digital.

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