Maxis calls $21 m Malaysia shootout

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian telco Maxis has put its creative and media accounts - valued conservatively at RM80 million (US$21.1 million) - up for pitch in an attempt to streamline its agency line-up.

According to a source, the company is looking to consolidate its current roster of agencies down to just one media and one creative. The source also confirmed that BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather and Euro RSCG would be involved in the creative pitch, while media participants include OMD and MindShare/Motivator.

"They are strong contenders and will go all out because it is worth RM100 million and the repercussions will be very great," said the source.

Industry observers believe that increased competition has prompted Maxis to attempt to rationalise its agency line-up, leading to the real prospect that it will consolidate with one holding company. However, the source added: "It makes sense for it to keep a number of agencies due to the size of the account, although it looks like Maxis is looking for a consolidation within one group."

The account, which will cover post-paid telephony, IDD, internet and mobile communications, had previously been split between two creative shops - BBDO and Ogilvy - and two media agencies, OMD and MindShare. BBDO has reportedly held the majority share of this business for the last four years, including post-paid, corporate, festive promotions and business communications. Ogilvy, meanwhile, has overseen below-the-line and CRM for the last two years. Maxis' prepaid Hotlink brand was assigned to Euro RSCG and Motivator in 2002.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Maxis spend in the first half of 2004 hit RM84 million, exceeding the 2003 total of RM80 million. Its main rivals are DiGi Telecommunications and Celcom, which merged with Telekom Malaysia in early 2003.

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