MG OMD set to win government's media buying contract

OmniGov is expected to win a new media services contract with the government (Getty Images)
OmniGov is expected to win a new media services contract with the government (Getty Images)

OmniGov team is poised to retain the government for another four years, Campaign has learned.

Manning Gottlieb OMD is poised to win the UK government’s media services review and retain one of the most valuable accounts in British advertising, with an annual spend of more than £200m.

Campaign understands that the government has concluded the process, with the incumbent agency team, OmniGov, a division of MG OMD, tipped to be awarded a new contract subsequent to a short, standstill period.

It is thought the participating agencies were informed of the result at the end of last week.

The standstill allows for a pause of at least 10 calendar days, following the decision to award the contract, when bidders are notified and have a window to challenge the decision before a final contract is offered.

The four-year government media services contract will run from April 2022, when OmniGov’s current contract expires, to April 2026.

The government’s net annual media spend is forecast to be between £179m and £210m, according to official tender documents, which makes the contract worth in the region of £800m over the period.

Industry sources have told Campaign that MG OMD is the preferred agency from a tender process that also involved WPP’s MediaCom, Dentsu’s Carat and Havas Media.

If OmniGov's appointment is confirmed, it will be the first time an incumbent has retained the government’s media buying account for several reviews.

OmniGov, which is owned by US agency giant Omnicom and led by chief executive Paul Knight, has handled the government’s media services account since 2018, when it took over the account from Carat in a four-year deal worth up to £600m.

Carat won the contract in 2014 – a decision that was challenged by WPP, the previous incumbent, in court. 

During its tenure, OmniGov has produced award-winning work for its role in the government’s coronavirus communications during the pandemic, winning Agency Team of the Year at the Campaign Media Awards in 2020 and 2021.

At one point, during the first lockdown of 2020, the government became the UK's biggest advertiser by some margin as it ramped up communications, while other brands halted or slashed spend.

The Cabinet Office and agencies involved in the tender process all declined to comment.

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