Facebook launches creative agency review, taps Johannes Leonardo for Instagram
Facebook's $750 million media review is just one piece of a larger puzzle, Ad Age has learned: The social media titan is also reviewing its creative account and has tapped a new shop for Instagram.
Facebook confirmed that is reviewing the shops working with its in-house agency Creative X on the Facebook brand, and that on the Instagram side it has selected Johannes Leonardo to help drive "the larger creative strategy and narrative."
The company would not comment on contenders for Facebook's business. In the past, the company has farmed out parts of its brand to multiple agencies. Wieden+Kennedy has handled production of Facebook ads. BBDO had done work for WhatsApp. Leo Burnett and Droga5 also have held pieces of the business.
Increasingly, though, Facebook has been leaning on Creative X for its advertising inspiration. Creative X is led by Managing Director Amanda Goodspeed. Melissa Waters, Instagram’s VP of marketing, will also be key to the creative initiatives coming out of the new arrangement, a Facebook rep said.
The latest Instagram agency, JL, will also work in close collaboration with the in-house agency "to connect directly with culture and help push it forward, by elevating the communities and creators that are making it happen,” a Facebook spokesman said in an email statement. “We’re excited to bring Johannes Leonardo along that journey."
Ogilvy has been the brand's lead external creative agency since 2019. The shop is no longer working on Instagram, the company said, but remains in Facebook's overall creative mix. Ogilvy declined to comment.
The changes come at a pivotal moment for Facebook’s evolving marketing strategy following Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio's departure last summer. Just this week, Facebook said it would conduct the first review of its $750 million media business in about seven years. Facebook has worked with WPP’s Mindshare and Dentsu on buying media since 2014. The agencies handle Facebook's spending for its marketing budget on digital, TV, connected TV, print and out-of-home billboards.
Facebook tapped ID Comms, a large media consulting group, to help it search for new media-buying partners.
Facebook is trying to recast its image among the general public. With 3.3 billion users across its family of apps—including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger—the platform has been blamed for the ease of sharing disinformation and organizing hate speech online. Governments across the world and regulators are targeting Facebook and its subsidiaries over data, privacy and antitrust concerns.
Meanwhile, TikTok, a Chinese-owned app, is taking off with younger users and has emerged relatively unscathed from its own turmoil, namely a push to get it banned in the U.S. last year. Brands and marketers are starting to spread their money to competing apps like Pinterest and Snapchat, too.
Facebook sees the need for a new tact, and last year it picked Alex Schultz as its new chief marketing officer. Last week, David Fischer announced he would step down as chief revenue officer after 11 years.
The media review is likely to set off a stampede of agencies looking to win Facebook’s business. There are billions of dollars at stake that most agencies would be glad to help spend.