The advertising industry in Uganda is undergoing transformation. Multi national companies are crafting new campaigns and spending millions on advertising. Others are cutting back as business slumps in a tough economy.
In the advertising business, affiliations are everything. London based WPP group leads the pack with the most affiliations, followed by New York led Omnicom; French Publicis Groupe closely follows while the Interpublic Group and Dentsu Aegis come in the fourth and fifth positions.
How is it in Kampala?
The latest news this website is privy to is that Moringa/The Brand House is merging with TBWA/Limelight Uganda who last year lost the TBWA affiliation over low business, having lost their biggest client, Stanbic Bank Account.
The two will now form TBWA Uganda and The Brand House. TBWA will be managing MTN and key accounts with Peter Magona (Former Moringa MD) as first Country Director, while The Brand House will take on the smaller accounts.
Moringa were for years known to be chasing for the Dentsu Aegis affiliation having realised they were being treated as “step kids” within the WPP fraternity.
The merger of Limelight and Moringa is meant to consolidate and create an award winning agency with the capacity to deliver unmatched integrated communications service to their clients.
Who is losing, who is winning?
Moringa lost a couple of accounts including Dstv and Nile Breweries. They overhauled house letting go of major staff including Peter Magona who was the Managing Director.
Across in Kololo at Nyonyi Gardens, MTN fired Metropolitan Republic and were forced to move out of the MTN premises. MTN has since moved business to TBWA/Limelight Uganda, pending a beef up of the team there. In the process, TBWA have hired Peter Magona in a care taker position as first Country Director.
Also on the up-shift is Kamwokya based BrandVision who picked international affiliation from DDB to become DDBBrandVision handling major clients including telecom Africell, Cavendish University, National Medical Stores, and Exim Bank.
This is a major shift of power from the ScanGroup led WPP group agencies Scanad, H+K, Grey, JWT and Ogilvy Mather who are handling Airtel, Coca Cola and part of Uganda Breweries business.
Why is MTN moving?
TBWA/Omnicom had deposed WPP led Metropolitan for the MTN account after an intense international pitch in January this year. Omnicom was chosen as MTN’s integrated global agency, implying either BrandVisionDDB or TBWA Limelight were to take on business. This put an end to the dreams of Publicis and WPP, two agencies that made it to the final round of the contest.
In Uganda, that brought an end to Metropolitan Republic’s servicing of MTN, who were also under WPP, implying they belonged to the WPP-ScanGroup Block.
The problem however was that TBWA had previously let go of Limelight, yet BrandVisionDDB already had a telecom. This left Omnicon with one option – to recall the weaker Limelight, and task Management there to restaff.
MTN was ushered into the Ugandan market by QG Saatchi & Saatchi Group who for years made the yellow brand one with huge market equity.
Other agencies like Star picked Leo Burnett affiliation while FireWorks went for Burson Marsteller to cement their position as the public relations and communications firm of choice.
Peter Magona is credited for leading Moringa’s onslaught onto the brewery creative marketing business that saw Nile Breweries overtake Uganda breweries as market leader.