Amazon-owned audiobook provider, Audible, consolidated its $500 million global media business with WPP shop Wavemaker.
The account was the largest in May and contributed to a fifth (21%) of the total $2.4bn new-business billings for the month, according to Campaign‘s Advertising Intelligence.
Previously, media planning and buying for Audible had been handled by various agencies, including Hearts & Science in the UK
Hamish Davis, global chief growth and marketing officer at Wavemaker, said that much like Audible, “the new economy clients we’ve won in the last few years, have always come to us for that ability to scale up globally fast”.
Davis added that having clients like Audible is imperative for attracting new talent and helping grow “new economy clients.”
Data by R3 showed media reviews brought in the most billings in May, with a total of $1.4 billion, it contributed to 59% of the total for the month. Creative accounted for $959 million.
Alongside Audible, another large media account that was up for review was Danone. The company, which owns brands such as Alpro and Activia, also consolidated its account with Wakemaker for $145.5 million.
Danone was already on the agency’s books in the US and Europe, but has since added digital in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as other media duties in key regions including South East Asia and Latin America.
Speaking about the consolidation of both Audible and Danone, Davis said: “For a lot of bigger advertisers, it’s the simplification of it.
“If you’re having to constantly manage a long tail of agencies, that in itself is a real cost, both in terms of the amount of resources required to manage that ecosystem, but also in terms of lost value.”
On the creative side, retail brand Levi’s took the spotlight, awarding its $80 million global account to independent agency Droga5. Premium car brand Audi also had its $50 million US account up for review, which was nabbed from indie agency Venables Bell and Partners and awarded to WPP’s Ogilvy.
Year-on-year comparison showed that May 2021 was more active than this year; both the number of accounts and total billings for the month were about a third higher than May 2022.
There were 551 accounts up for review in May 2021, 38% higher than this year’s 340. Similarly, billings were 33% higher last year, which equated to more than $ 1billion more. The figure in May 2021 was $3.5bn, whereas this year it came in at £2.4 billion.
While media dominated in May 2022, representing 59% of the total billings, creative was the most active a year earlier accounting for $1.9billion (54%) of the total.
On the holding company front, WPP took the top spot in May after winning the four largest accounts for the month. It was also the only holding company to generate more than $1bn in billings, which accounted for 59% of the total for May.
The large accounts picked up by Wavemaker and Ogilvy contributed to WPP’s $1.4 billion billings, alongside two confidential clients picked up by Essence in the US for $100 million a piece.
Interpublic followed with $191 million in billings; one of the larger accounts was American freelancing platform Upwork’s $20 million media business, picked up by Universal McCann in the US.
Omnicom was next with $131m in billings – DDB retained the $50 million creative account in Europe for Dutch retail company C&A.
Although not a part of the “big six”, indie agencies followed WPP with $382 million. In addition to the Levi’s pitch picked up by Droga5, another notable win was by Wow Studios, which snapped up the $20 million creative account for home appliance company Whirlpool in North America.