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Shell Throws Global Creative and Media Accounts into Review

By Published on .

Credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Oil and gas giant Shell is tossing its global creative and media business into review after working with a WPP team consisting of JWT and MediaCom for many years, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Ad Age has learned that the global account is valued at more than $200 million.

Shell has sent RFIs to select media and creative agencies, these people said, adding that the winning shops do not have to be part of the same holding company. Shell representatives declined to comment.

The review is being handled by R3, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Representatives from R3 were not immediately available for comment.

JWT, which plans on competing for the creative business, has worked on the account for more than two decades.

"J. Walter Thompson/WPP is proud of the innovative and award-winning work we have created with Shell over the past 20 years," said a JWT representative via email. "We see this review as an opportunity to enhance our relationship and look forward to participating."

In 2005, WPP created a "Team Media for Shell" to handle media planning and buying for three of its business groups including Shell's global retail and lubricants businesses as well as corporate and recruitment advertising. The team, Ad Age reported at the time, pulled in executives and resources from MediaCom and Maxus and was led by MediaCom's U.K. office.

It's been a whirlwind year for MediaCom, which lost one of its major U.S. clients when AB InBev chose Vizeum to handle its U.S. media in October. MediaCom still handles InBev's media in some markets including Mexico. Mars Inc., which works with MediaCom, Starcom and OMD for different global media duties, has kicked off a review and said last week it wants to move from a three-agency media structure to using a single global media partner.

MediaCom has recently won media work for Uber, MetLife and Bose, and also scooped up business from Walgreens Boots Alliance, PSA Group and Richemont this year. MediaCom did not respond to request for comment.

This past fall, Shell worked with JWT, Mediacom, Edelman and Picnic on its #makethefuture campaign. The Shell Synergy Truck, which toured U.S. colleges until the end of 2017, used a kinetic tile walkway that converts footsteps into a payment for a free menu item from the food truck.

Royal Dutch Shell -- the official name for Shell -- will release its fourth quarter 2017 earnings on February 2. For the third quarter, Shell beat analyst expectations when its net profit increased nearly 50 percent, climbing to $4.1 billion from $2.7 billion in the same period last year.

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