ADT Shakes up Agency Roster with New Digital, Creative and Media Shops

The Changes Come Under Tony Wells, Who Joined Company Last April

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Tony Wells
Tony Wells

After a four-month-long pitch process, security giant ADT has appointed a new group of agencies. The marketer awarded its creative business to Havas' Arnold, Boston; its digital business to large indie shop SapientNitro; and its media buying and planning account to WPP's Mediacom.

The move marks the end of a long relationship with creative and media incumbent Doner. The MDC-backed shop won the company's $30 million direct-response TV account in the late 1990s. Publicis Groupe's Razorfish and BGT Partners supported ADT's digital efforts.

Avidan Strategies was the consultant on the pitch, which began with a total of almost 50 agencies, according to Mr. Wells, across digital, media and creative.

"We're at an inflection point," said CMO Tony Wells. "We're seeing a lot of home automation and bundling from telco's and cable. There are also a lot of DIY options. The market is changing quickly."

Of the agency changes, he said: "We really had to look in the mirror. We wanted to be better and partners are critical. It's a review of the business itself, really. Being able to link the approach to business strategy and process was the most important part," he said. "After that, the rest will take care of itself as [the agency] learns more about the business."

Mr. Wells is a well-known marketer who joined ADT last April after spending time at 24 Hour Fitness, and before that Visa and Nissan.

"ADT is a category leader with distinguishing assets to further position themselves ahead of a competitive category," said Robert LePlae, CEO, Arnold Worldwide. "This is a tremendous opportunity to partner with Tony and his team to grow the customer base and fuel Brand Velocity for ADT with a dynamic strategy and a strong creative platform."

"For 15 years, we worked together with ADT to make them the undisputed leader in the category," said David DeMuth, co-CEO and president of Doner. "We're proud of that relationship, as it's hard to find partnerships of that duration in our industry, particularly in direct-response driven business models. As the home security business becomes more crowded and competitive, we expect to put our experience to work soon, and wish ADT all the best." The loss comes as Doner earlier this week picked up a new account: JC Penney.

Late last year, ADT Security Services completed its spinoff from parent company Tyco International and became a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

In its third-quarter earnings, ADT reported $833 million in total revenue, up 2.3% from the same period last year. Net income was up 10.8% to $113 million.

The word is still out on the marketing budget for 2013. In 2012, parent company Tyco International spent $74.8 million on measured media, up from $58.8 million in 2011. Of the $74.8 million, ADT's Security System & Service product accounted for $56.8 million.

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