Diversity champion Diageo names pitching media agencies – but when will they be paid?

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Drinks giant Diageo has shortlisted inclumbent Dentsu Aegis’ Carat, Publicis Media and Omnicom’s PHD for its global media planning and buying account, worth an estimated $1bn. Diageo brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness and Smirnoff.

The pitch, like some other global reviews, has been bedevilled by reports that Diageo is looking to extend its payment terms beyond its published 60 days to as much as 120, a third of a year. It admits to paying on 90 for some international projects.

Diageo won’t say what it’s offering, only that it will be a “win-win” deal for the lucky agency. WPP declined to pitch, Interpublic has dropped out.

Quite how payment on 60 days or more is a win-win for anyone but the client is beyond most people, especially for an assignment dealing with multiple brands all over the world, each with their own differing requirements.

Diageo CMO Sylvia Saller, who seems to be keeping her head down on this one, picked up a CBE in the UK’s New Year Honours List for her work encouraging diversity in suppliers, including agencies. She wants the teams on her business to include a specified number of women and minorities.

All very praiseworthy. But, in this instance, when will Diageo’s dream teams actually be paid?

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