Lidl is reviewing its media-buying requirements in the UK as part of an international review, putting Starcom on alert.
The German supermarket chain has been reviewing its media-buying requirements across Europe, including the UK, where OMD handles planning and Starcom works on buying.
Campaign understands that the process has become a shoot-out between OMD and Starcom. WPP’s Group M was involved in the UK process at an earlier stage, but had been put out of contention in recent weeks.
A source familiar with the review said Lidl had indicated several months ago that it had intended to consolidate all of its media planning and buying into a single shop.
However, as the process developed, regional market leaders at Lidl were empowered to choose their own agency.
Omnicom’s OMD UK won Lidl’s strategic planning account in 2018.
Lidl took the unusual step of splitting media planning and buying duties because it wanted to take a “fresh approach” to its media strategy.
Before then, Publicis Groupe's Starcom had been Lidl’s sole media agency since 2015.
Lidl is the third biggest supermarket behind Tesco and Asda, with above the line spend of £55m according to Nielsen figures.
Lidl operates more than 10,000 stores, the vast majority of which are in Europe. It has 100 stores in the US, with another 50 planned to open this year. Lidl had run an online-only store in China, but that shut down in 2019 after two years.
A spokeswoman for Lidl confirmed the review, adding: "As part of an international review, Lidl GB is currently in the process of pitching for a media-buying agency and will share more information as soon as we are in a position to do so."
Lidl is one of several major UK supermarket brands that have agreed to feature in Channel 4 ad break takeovers tomorrow as a stand against racism. The supermarkets will run consecutive spots during two primetime commercial breaks and endorse an anti-racism message, after Sainsbury's was targeted by racist online commenters for featuring a black family in its Christmas ad.