4 Advance in Philips Pitch

NEW YORK Four contenders have reached the second round of Philips Electronics’ global media review, sources said.

The contenders are: the incumbent, Aegis’ Carat, Publicis’ Zenith Optimedia, Omnicom Media Group and WPP Group’s Mediaedge:cia, according to sources.

The next round of presentations is set for mid-January. Agencies and clients declined comment. The review is expected to take six months to complete, the company said, indicating that the new media agency structure will be in place by April.

The company spends about $100 million annually on ads in the U.S.

Carat won a consolidation review for the global account in 2001, with estimated spending at that time of $600 million. (Philips said in its 2005 annual report that worldwide advertising and sales promotion costs totaled nearly $1.2 billion, but did not provide a further breakout.)

The account went into review in October. The Netherlands-based Philips said in a statement that the review was being undertaken “to accelerate its marketing and branding efforts within today’s fast-changing media landscape.”

Geert van Kuyck, svp, global marketing management, said, “The pace of change we have seen within the global media environment requires us to continuously challenge the way we deliver our brand promise of ‘Sense and Simplicity’ to our customers and consumers through the media they consume. While we have made important steps forward in this area over the past year, we also believe that fundamental to this challenge is the way clients and agencies collaborate effectively in this new environment.”

Carat and Philips have made headlines in the past year for experimenting with different ad models, including the sponsorship of an entire edition of CBS’ 60 Minutes last season. Earlier this year Philips was the sole sponsor of an issue of Gourmet magazine. Last week, it sponsored an edition of the NBC Nightly News, with limited ads breaks, allowing room for more editorial content in the program than usual.