Rapp and M&C Saatchi are set to go head to head in a major pitch to handle the consolidated O2 and Virgin Media CRM account, after VCCP has emerged triumphant in the first review for the advertising business.
The shake-up has been on the cards since the 2020 merger, which brings together O2’s 34 million mobile network customers with Virgin’s 5.3 million broadband, pay-TV and mobile users.
At the time, the newly merged businesses said that, among with cost-savings created by the joint operation, they were planning to reduce overall marketing spend.
Virgin’s CRM account has been handled by Rapp for over a decade. The O2 CRM brief, held by M&C – formerly Lida – was up for review in 2020 year but it was postponed due to Covid.
In a pre-emptive move in August last year, M&C reappointed former Lida planning chief Rich Edwards as head of planning for the O2 account; he was part of the original pitch team that scooped the business back in 2011.
When it comes to the advertising account, VCCP has worked on the O2 account since the agency was founded in 2002, while Adam & Eve/DDB had worked for Virgin Media since March 2019.
However, VCCP appeared to already have the upper hand after it was appointed to launch the first joint brand campaign in October 2021, promoting Volt, a premium broadband and mobile network service.
A spokesperson for Virgin Media/O2 Mobile said: “We have taken the decision to proceed with VCCP as the lead creative agency for our newly merged entity Virgin Media O2.
“We’d like to thank both VCCP and Adam & Eve/DDB for their outstanding work for both brands during their tenure and as part of the pitch process.”
Havas handles O2’s media, alongside an in-house division called Team O2, while OMD UK runs the Virgin Media brief.
O2 ‘Roam Freely’: Fast and furious across the continent
Virgin Media Skatergirl: Ticks all the boxes but not ours
Rapp triumphs at DMA Awards with biggest gold haul
Virgin Media O2 unveils first joint campaign by VCCP
M&C brings back Edwards for key role on O2 business
O2 and Virgin Media deal green light to fuel pitch frenzy
Agencies on alert over O2 and Virgin Media mega deal