Pumping up for the pitch

“Pumping up for the pitch” was first published in MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 345

by The Hammer

The world of agencies pitching for business usually ends up down and dirty. 

And when the stakes are high, there will be some muscling going on to become the favoured one.

Well, start your engines. The PETRONAS great media pitch is on the tracks.

Leading the race and looking good is incumbent Invictus Blue, now further pumped up by its tie up with HAVAS Worldwide – one of the world’s largest global communications groups. 

But the race is not over yet, until it’s really over. 

About a dozen or so media specialist companies have apparently been invited to present their case for handling the business. 

Our queries to client PETRONAS yielded this, “A media specialist contract tendering process is currently on-going and, as such, we are not at liberty to disclose any information pertaining to this.” 

So to quote comedian Bill Maher, “I Don’t Know It For a Fact… I Just Know It’s True.”, I will endeavour to read the race as best as I can. 

I am told that many agencies were invited and results will be known in January. Some say about 30 agencies have been invited (shocker), as apparently most GLCs usually love being wooed by a large field of contenders. Maybe more agencies make the process democratic?… 

Probably about 15 agencies will make the final shortlist. The real media players that is. 

Interestingly, most international agencies already handle some oil and gas brand, and may need to pivot to manage conflicts… deploy the infamous ‘fire wall strategy’. 

The media budget is big, and if it encompasses all their brands and activities globally, should reach some hundred million ringgit over two years.

How am I doing so far?…. I am wide off the mark? Let’s see… 

PETRONAS is very diverse and more new brands (read ESG note forthcoming) are being added to the fold. Their Creative/Brand agencies include ensemble (ATL), McCann (BTL), Bonsey Design, and others. 

PETRONAS also says it is not parting ways with MercedesBenz as the title sponsor for the Mercedes-AMG F1 team and it has been the title and technical sponsor for the F1 team since 2010. 

Recently, PETRONAS retained its position as Malaysia’s most valuable brand for the 12th consecutive year, with its brand value rising strongly by 13% to US$13.6 billion, according to brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. 

The same report cites that the brand value of PETRONAS is worth just over three times as much as the second-ranked Malaysian brand, Genting (brand value up 44% to US$4.5 billion). 

Malaysian Petroleum Resources Corp operations head Mustafa Akbar Reza said at the recent Oil and Gas Asia 2022 event, “Everyone is jumping and toeing the line to support this whole environmental, social and governance agenda, which transcends beyond the O&G industry. So you cannot just think of your profit and loss without addressing all the elements of sustainability.” 

One analyst shares that expenditure on all fronts will be amplified in 2023 to meet investor/fund manager expectations to maintain share valuations for all PETRONAS linked equities. 

He adds, “Escalating tensions between US, China and Russia do not augur well for both Asian and European economies, as supply chain disruptions, both in the energy and logistic sectors, will chart the mood and tempo for the last quarter of 2022. 

The jury is still out on the future narrative, impacting all of the above, and also in view of the resurgent US dollar.

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