Snack and beverage giant Mondelēz International has placed its North American media buying business in review for the first time in more than two years.
A spokesperson confirmed today that the company recently issued an RFP concerning its media account for the continent and that incumbent Carat will officially defend.
“We are doing a review of our North American media roster, and Carat has been invited to participate in that process,” the representative said. The Mondelēz organization will manage the process internally.
“We regularly review our ways of working with our agencies,” she continued. “Given the high caliber of our brands, it’s vital that we always have the right mix of agencies and talent from which we can draw.”
The company’s last agency review took place in 2015 and ended with the Denstu-owned agency being declared the “big winner” of a global contest that saw Carat expand its previous assignment handling Mondelēz’s chocolate brands, winning North American buying and planning work for the company’s entire cookie, gum and candy brand portfolio. This work had previously been with Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest, which was the only other agency involved in the review.
It is unclear which other shops will be pitching against Carat in this round, but one source with direct knowledge of the matter told Adweek that the RFP went out to at least two other agencies, one of which is Publicis Groupe’s Spark Foundry.
Representatives for Carat, Dentsu and Starcom have not responded to requests for comment on the news. A Spark Foundry spokesperson deferred to the client.
Regarding its relationship with the former agency, the Mondelēz representative said, “Carat continues to be a valued media partner to Mondelēz International, supporting our business across a number of geographies around the world. This review is specific to our North American business.”
Mondelēz has avoided some of the recent financial struggles of fellow food conglomerates thanks, in large part, to its investments in international markets. Carat currently handles media for the company across much of Europe.
The client’s CMO Dana Anderson left in April to join consultancy MediaLink, which will not be working on this review. Mondelēz has yet to announce her successor.
According to Kantar Media, the conglomerate spent $209 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2016 and $113 million from January to June of 2017—an increase of nearly 20 percent over the previous year.
Greg Paull, co-founder and principal at international consultancy R3, estimated that Mondelēz spends more than $1.5 billion marketing its products around the world each year.