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Clorox consolidates U.S. media with OMD, shifting digital duties from AKQA

Ad Age 04 May 2020 06:34

Clorox Co. has consolidated its $500 million-plus U.S. media buying and planning account with Omnicom’s OMD following a review, the company said, giving OMD the digital side of the business previously handled by WPP’s AKQA.

The move takes effect with Clorox's new fiscal year starting in July, with a transition period during the fiscal first quarter. Digital accounts for more than half of Clorox’s media outlay, though portions of digital, including streaming buys on Hulu and elsewhere, were previously handled by OMD, along with other media.

Clorox is a rare marketer whose sales are soaring amid the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Not only are hard-to-find Clorox Wipes flying off shelves, but so are many of the company's other products and brands, such as bleach, Brita water filters, Pine-Sol, Formula 409, Hidden Valley Ranch and Kingsford Charcoal.

Clorox ad spending was up 14 percent last quarter, nearly keeping pace with its 17 percent organic sales growth. Its stock is up more than 30 percent year to date vs. a 14 percent decline for the S&P 500.

Clorox expects to stick to its plan of spending around 10 percent of sales on advertising this fiscal year, said Chairman-CEO Benno Dorer on a May 1 earnings call. Global sales should hit around $6.5 billion for the fiscal year, based on company forecasts. With 84 percent of business coming in the U.S., that translates to around $550 million in U.S. ad spending all-in, including agency and production costs. Clorox spent $513.5 million in calendar 2018, according to the Ad Age Datacenter.

“The needs of our businesses and consumers have shifted,” said Clorox Chief Marketing Officer Stacey Grier in a statement. “As a result, we have identified a single media partner to lead us into our future.”

Grier said OMD “presented a proven integrated team solution, a clear transformation, vision and roadmap to deliver” what she called “future-facing talent reflecting the diversity of our consumers and skills required today.” She also praised OMD for its “modern data, technology and workflow,” as well as “thought leadership and innovation to stay ahead of critical changes coming.”

“Transformation is about combining what works today with what you will need for tomorrow,” said OMD USA CEO John Osborn in a statement. “So our approach combined the experience and insights earned over the two-decade OMD/Clorox partnership with next level talent, technology and operational solutions.”

An AKQA spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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