Defence Force takes creative and digital account to pitch

The tender documents confirm the pitch will run until September.

The Department of Defence has officially begun the lengthy pitch process for its creative and digital account, currently held by VML.

The tender, first flagged back in November, went live this week, with the tender documents confirming the pitch will run until September.

VML won the account in 2018 after previously losing it to Host/Havas in 2013. At the time Host/Havas lost the 2018 pitch – which culminated in a shoot-out between VML, TBWA Melbourne, Clemenger BBDO, and the incumbent Host/Havas – the ADF was its biggest client, and the loss resulted in dozens of redundancies.

This time around, the protracted pitch will begin with an industry briefing this Friday, 16 February. The RFT will close on 19 March, with a shortlist announced by May.

The second stage for shortlisted agencies will run from May to August, followed by a negotiation period across August and September for the winning agency.

Once a pitch winner is announced, the contract will commence on 1 April 2025 for a period of four years, with the option to extend the partnership for a further two years.

The tender documents stress that the successful agency’s key focus will be to help recruit people to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to “build, sustain, and maximise the Defence capability”.

“Australia is facing the most challenging set of strategic circumstances since the end of the Second World War. People are at the heart of all that Defence does and are the most important component of Australia’s military capability,” the tender covering letter reads.

“In the current competitive labour environment, Defence is facing challenges with recruiting ADF personnel in sufficient numbers … Increasing ADF recruitment is of high importance to the Commonwealth and the security of our nation.”

VML’s most recent work for the ADF includes last year’s ‘Live a Story Worth Telling’ and ‘Where it All Begins’ recruitment campaigns for the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Defence Force Academy, respectively.

It comes as the federal government’s $150-200m master media account also went up for tender this month. Marketers believe 2024 will be a “big year of pitches”.

Peter Coffey at Enth Degree previously told Mediaweek, “Coming out of Covid, we expected a rush of tenders; however, last year, we mostly saw global activity in terms of pitches. Marketers have been spending the last year or so looking at what they need from agencies and suppliers, and as a result, we are going to see the results of that.

“There’s certainly going to be a lot more activity this year from a tender point of view. It’s going to be a big year of pitches.” 

See also: Federal government master media account is up for tender after six years with UM

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