Woolworths keeps $155m media account with Dentsu ahead of Surry Hills hub

Woolworths, has stuck with Dentsu to manage its $155m media account, one of the biggest in the country, Mi3 has confirmed.

Unlike rival supermarket Coles, the majority of Woolworths’ brands are all housed within one account, which Dentsu handles via bespoke unit, Woolworths@DAN, set up in 2018. 

These include the supermarket business, its financial and insurance services, retail chain Big W and alcohol brands Dan Murphy's and BWS.

However, earlier this month, Atomic 212 was appointed to manage Dan Murphy and BWS’ performance media buying, following a competitive pitch.

Barbara Messitt leads the bespoke team for Dentsu, taking the reins from Sarah James, who left in April last year to head up Initiative Melbourne.

"This retention is testament to the strength of our working partnership and the continued mutual success this has brought. It’s a privilege to work with such successful iconic brands in collaboration with their partners," Carat CEO Sue Squillace confirmed to Mi3. Woolworths was approached for comment but directed inquiries to Carat.

"We are thrilled to continue working with the Woolworths Group including Supermarkets, Services, Big W, BWS, Dan Murphy’s, and Woolworths Countdown supermarkets in New Zealand."

Ringing the changes

While keeping its media buying with Dentsu, Woolworths has just completed a restructure of its entire marketing and agency operations that will bring all of its partners and internal units under one roof.

In September, Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Hicks announced that the business will launch an "innovation hub", based in Surry Hills, Sydney.

The new hub will manage its digital, creative and media businesses, centralising all its respective units including internal digital business WooliesX, creative shop M&C Saatchi and its Greenhouse joint venture, plus retail media business Cartology.

The hub will also house the newly-created digital and data arm of Big W, BIGWX.

“In many ways, this is a natural next step in what was originally intended. With the addition of WooliesX and Cartology, we are continuing to build a progressive partnership model where skills and capabilities come together to solve problems regardless of who any individual works for," Hicks said at the time.

Woolworths' move to the Surry Hills hub is intended to concentrate all of its data, technological and creative firepower in one place to extract more value from the 16.1 million customers understood to use its websites and apps on a weekly basis.

Speaking to Mi3 in May, Cartology Managing Director Mike Tyquin indicated a bigger pushby Woolworths to develop its owned channels, as well as ramp up its digital capabilities.

While even pre-Covid the Woolworths website was the most searched digital platform for FMCG goods, Tyquin says the subsequent surge in online shopping gives the business a strong point of difference compared to other media channels.

Traffic to the Woolworths website more than doubled during a seven-week period across March - April as Woolworths recorded 62 million visits to the website and app, 2.6 million views of recipe pages and 162 million page-turns of its digital catalogue.

Meanwhile, use of the Woolworths app is up 320%, driven by the digital catalogue, people planning their physical shopping trips and online shopping itself.

Woolworths, according to Tyquin, sees the advertising pool among FMCG, liquor, general merchandising and household goods categories to be worth close to $3bn by FY 2023. 

Adding to its in-store footprint, Cartology is also rolling out a new network of 228 digital screens at the entrance of Dan Murphy’s stores nationwide. 

Completion is expected in the coming months, with Victoria dependent on further changes to lockdown restrictions.

Originally published on Mi3 here.

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