by MarkLives (@marklives) In a statement released to MarkLives, Graham Warsop, founder and chairman of The Jupiter Drawing Room, says it’s no secret that the loss of Absa, an anchor client of Jupiter (Jhb) for the last decade, will have a marked effect on the agency. The agency, which still holds the account until the end of 2016, will now initiate a voluntary retrenchment programme and assess its position once this process is complete, and the new business wins it’s waiting to confirm have been tallied.

The Jupiter Drawing Room (Jhb) will announce details on its future strategy in the next few weeks, says Warsop, guided by the structural changes required to offer a fully integrated service to clients, and a commitment to black economic empowerment.

Full statement

Graham WarsopFor ten years Jupiter (Jhb) had ‘lead agency’ status on the Absa account, but it did not have the digital portfolio, which is highly undesirable, given where the world is moving. Also, at time of the mandatory procurement RFP, the client seemed attracted by the full suite of services potentially available through a global agency network. So, seeking to maintain the status quo was not an option for Jupiter (Jhb).

When Jupiter was shortlisted as one of the few agencies (and the only locally-owned independent) invited to contest the procurement review by Absa, it made the call that radical change was required.

The client confirmed that the strategic and creative work being developed by Jupiter on the account was sufficiently strong for it not to be considered necessary to put either out to pitch. The pitch would be about efficiencies, the quest for a more streamlined, cost-saving servicing model, single point of contact accountability and transformation.

In response and in conjunction with the current Absa partners it was collaborating with, Jupiter developed an innovative (for SA) model.

Believing it would not be in the bank’s best interests to go through a change of agencies at this critical time in its history (the sell-down by Barclays) , we sought to consolidate teams currently servicing the business across the marketing spectrum, and put then in a new bespoke offering we called PROSPEROUS. (Jupiter created the current Absa positioning statement; PROSPER).

This new black-owned SA company would be staffed to exclusively service the Absa/Barclays business. The solution was backed by WPP, and WPP’s experience internationally with clients such as Ford is that the bespoke model, largely untested in Africa, is the most progressive solution to a client’s quest for streamlined integration.

Where to next?

It’s no secret that the loss of Absa, an anchor client of Jupiter (Jhb) for the last decade, will have a marked effect on the agency.

The reality is, whether we won the procurement pitch with our PROSPEROUS submission (the creation of a new bespoke agency to service Absa/Barclays) or whether we lost, the effect on Jupiter (Jhb) was always going to be significant.

Whilst, regrettably, retrenchments will be inevitable, this decision does give us the opportunity to reassess the agency of the future model, and structure accordingly.

We have obviously been planning for this eventuality, and our proposed way forward will be guided by two imperatives;

  1. The need to build on all the integration learnings and insights our team has gleaned, working as lead agency on this large and prestigious account.
  2. The desirability of helping move the industry forward from a transformation perspective.


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