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Managing PR accounts for multinationals require a lot of experience about branding and creative industry, which is why a lot of agencies do everything humanly possible to win such accounts.

For MTN in particular, arguably one of the leading telcos operating in the country, a lot is usually at stake. The review of MTN billion naira global businesses commenced in 2016 when the Africa telecom giant requested the global network agencies with tentacles across African markets to apply for its business. Possibly, the first time a multinational brand will be committing the whole of its marketing and communications requirements to a range of agencies, courtesy of their alignment as global network.
MTN finally shortlisted three agencies with global networks for the real contest to handle its business that spans across 22 countries in Africa, the global network agencies include Omnicom Group, WPP and French’s Publicis Groupe. These three has massive followership in affiliates and partners in Nigeria.
At last, the Omnicom network emerged victorious beating arch rivals Publicis and famous WPP to the juicy pie on a continental pitch.  The development threw up DDB Lagos, the Nigerian incumbent on the business and respected affiliate of the Omnicom Group as lead agency on the business once again.

Talking about Nigerian rival advertising holding groups rivalries, this was one pitch in which the Insight Publicis was expected to take it out on its arch rival DDB Lagos as regards the MTN business however, the result points in the direction that Insight and partner, Publicis will have to endure another round of waiting.
The Omnicom group success at the MTN pitch compels the telecoms player entered into a partnership with Omnicom to manage the leading African telecoms brand across all markets and facets PR, Creative, Digital, Media. This makes it almost a fait accompli for the group’s local affiliates on ground in the country to “inherit” the various aspects of the business.
In the light of this, DDB Lagos, TBWA Concept and Yellow Brick Road all part of the Omnicom group in Nigeria became the de-facto handlers of the MTN business in Nigeria with very good probability of working for the brand beyond the Nigerian market.
Likewise, PHD Media, a member of the George Thorpe’s IMS group and ReachOMD’s second-line specialist media agency was handed over the media aspect of the business while Playhouse, a digital specialist shop goes home with the digital facet of the business, all for the sole reason of being local partners of Omnicom group.

The greatest glitch however occurred as the PR apple cart was toppled as the existing Omnicom group PR agencies in Nigeria pre 2017 were refused access to the juicy business. However, as the media, creative and digital sector of the business were given out to existing Omnicom local partners, PR segment was left out.”
PR agencies affected in this ‘infamous’ decision were famous Corporate & Financial Porter Novelli and Media Craft Fleishman Hilliard. The Omnicom group and the client, MTN, went round the industry to collect profiles of some agencies, after rigorous scrutiny, Ayeni Adekunle’s Black House Media (BHM) and Calixthus Okoruwa’s Xlr8 were brought in and substituted for Corporate & Financial Porter Novelli and Media Craft Fleishman Hilliard.
BHM becomes the sixth agency that handles the MTN PR account in Nigeria while Xlr8 is consulting for the telecom giant for the second time. Corporate & Financial Porter Novelli was first briefed when the multinational brand came to the country, the services of Akin Adeoya’s Marketing Mix was sought to reduce the load of various PR projects of the brand with C & F, Marketing Mix was with the PR account of the brand for 12 years before Brooks +Blakes and DKK were recruited for the job to handle till 2017 December.

Xlr8 and BHM are expected to resume the MTN Business this quarter as their representatives were in South Africa last December as part of their induction into the network along with other beneficiaries of the Omnicom largesse.


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