Esso is understood to have dismissed potential client conflict issues and reappointed JWT to handle its 12m UK media buying and planning.
The surprise move will mean that JWT in London will handle Esso’s media and Shell’s creative account.
Shell appointed JWT in January to handle its 55m pan-European creative work and account handling. The appointment was made following a review out of WPP sister agency Ogilvy & Mather, revealed in Marketing Week (November 29).
JWT had resigned Esso’s creative and account handling in London following the appointment and was also expected to resign the media account.
JWT’s appointment to Esso’s media account in the UK puts an end to speculation that Shell would realign its pan-European media buying out of CIA and into JWT. It is understood JWT Manchester will handle some elements of Esso’s media buying.
Esso’s creative and account handling has not been decided yet, but Ammirati Puris Lintas is tipped to take the account.
JWT media director Mike Wood says that no one from Esso has confirmed to him that the agency has retained the account.
JWT is one of the few large London agencies to maintain a media department, rather than act through a separate media-dependent operation. It has already signalled its intention to spin off media planning and buying, probably in September. The appointment by Esso is expected to bring forward plans to separate media.
There has also been speculation that JWT is to merge its media buying with Ogilvy & Mather across Europe. Former Zenith chief executive Christine Walker has been mentioned as a potential candidate to spearhead the combined operation.