The account has been something of a grudge match between media buying agencies owned by Publicis Groupe and WPP respectively. In a see-saw sequence of events, Starcom retained BT in a difficult pitch against Mediaedge:cia in late 2007, only to cede it to its adversary now.
Maxus, formerly BJK&E, is run by MindShare UK’s old boss, Kelly Clark. I shall say nothing about fee negotiation, nor ‘Dutch auctions’, as I have little insight into the internal machinations involved in acquiring or losing this account. I do know, however, that Nick Theakstone and his UK team at GroupM, the nerve centre overseeing WPP’s media planning/buying agencies, spent over a year teeing this account up for Maxus. Suffice to note that BT is a big feather in the cap of whoever holds it.
GroupM is on something of a roll at the moment, having just won the long-running pitch for £250m-worth of consolidated media at COI and the £500m worldwide Bayer business.