Energy giant Chevron, a longtime staple of WPP’s client roster, has placed its global media planning and buying business in review, a company spokesperson confirmed this week.
“Chevron’s global media agency of record has been in place for 16 years,” said the representative. “We’ve elected to test the marketplace to confirm that Chevron has the best media services agency partner.”
One source told Adweek that the review was expected because it arrives at the end of WPP’s latest contract. Chevron has retained the holding company’s services several times since it first consolidated the global account in 2003 with one notable exception: In 2012, it fired both Ogilvy PR and Ogilvy Government Relations over reports that an agency representative held meetings with environmental groups opposed to Chevron development projects in Ecuador.
Other WPP agencies working on the business have included Hill+Knowlton, Y&R and MEC, which merged with Maxus to form Wavemaker in late 2017.
Another party close to the review said two unnamed competitors will be pitching against the incumbent. Wavemaker declined to comment through a spokesperson. Consultancy R3, which is overseeing the process, did not respond to a request for comment.
Chevron generally does not publicize its agency assignments, and it has not run a major broadcast campaign for some time. It has, however, diversified its agency lineup: in another R3 review that went largely unnoticed by the trade press, IPG’s Momentum Worldwide picked up the company’s sponsorship and experiential duties in 2017.
WPP currently handles global media for three of the world’s four largest fossil fuel companies after successfully defending the global Shell and BP accounts in 2018. The latter review resulted in the formation of dedicated unit Team Energy, which consists of Ogilvy, Grey, VML, Mindshare, Essence, SocialLabs and Landor.
Paris-based consultancy Comvergence has Chevron spending approximately $65 million on paid media around the world each year, though other estimates range as high as $150 million. In 2002 the number was $100 million.