Terminix has tapped Interpublic Group of Cos.’ The Martin Agency and Mediahub as its agencies of record across creative and media, respectively, following a review.
Consultant The Burnett Collective ran the review, which included six agencies, according to the companies. It was launched by Terminix Chief Marketing Officer Alex Ho, who joined the Memphis, Tennessee-based pest control services provider last August. Ho previously served eight years as the chief marketing officer of American Greetings—where he actually first worked with Mediahub and The Martin Agency CEO Kristen Cavallo. In 2015, the American Greetings marketing team led by Ho created the “World’s Toughest Job” campaign celebrating motherhood with MullenLowe, where Cavallo was U.S. chief strategy and growth officer at the time.
The appointment ends Terminix’s relationship with incumbent Kansas City-based independent agency Barkley, which had only won the creative and offline media business last January. Barkley declined to comment.
“The impetus of all of this is speed and quality,” Ho tells Ad Age, explaining the move. ““I joined Terminix in the middle of a pandemic. My goal is to make sure we are transforming the business and connecting with consumers in new ways; making sure we are talking about the brand in a new way.”
Going forward, The Martin Agency says it will handle all “full-funnel” creative duties including for TV, performance marketing and digital, while Mediahub will oversee all accompanying media responsibilities.
According to COMvergence estimates, Terminix spends $35 million annually on measured media in the U.S.
Ho says the Terminix business has done well in the pandemic, with people both buying houses and spending more on home projects. Still, Terminix is typically not top of mind for consumers until they have a pest problem. Ho says he is setting out to change that mindset, aiming to get people thinking of the company for preventative solutions more often.
“We can’t grow more roaches and mosquitoes,” Ho says. “It’s a matter of people organically seeing more of a need [for pest control services].”
Terminix pointed to a recent report by William Blair and PCO Media Specialists Pest Index that found demand for residential services were up 17% year-over-year in June due to COVID. In June, Fortune Business Insights also reported that the global pest control market size is expected to reach $31.9 billion by 2027 due to an increasing rodent population; the market value was at $19.7 billion in 2019. Terminix was listed in the report among the top players in the pest control market, alongside ServiceMasters, Bayer, Anticimex, Rentokil Initial and Ecolab.
The first work from The Martin Agency and Mediahub is expected to be delivered this spring.
On the creative side, Cavallo says The Martin Agency (the longtime AOR for Geico) has a way with making “pragmatic brands,” like insurance companies, “beloved.” She says it’s the agency’s sweet spot and the shop will aim to bring the same creative thinking it’s brought to clients, like Geico to Terminix. Cavallo notes that Ashley Marshall, who joined The Martin Agency from Wieden+Kennedy as an executive creative director last October, will be instrumental on the account.
“In a year that’s brought us murder hornets and cannibal rats, the Terminix brand feels so much more relevant to consumers than a gym membership or that bucket-list destination trip," Cavallo adds.
Mediahub U.S. President Sean Corcoran added in a statement on the partnership with The Martin Agency: “This is a team that knows a thing or two about the power of creativity and picking impactful moments. Just wait. A blend of big ideas, atypical media strategies and Terminix tenacity will make for striking results in 2021.”