Gillette Reviews $400-500 Mil.

Gillette is conducting a global review of its media planning and buying duties, with three roster shops vying for an estimated $400-500 million in billings, sources said.

The contenders are Omnicom Group’s OMD, Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann and WPP Group’s MindShare, each of which received an RFP from the client two weeks ago, said sources. The RFP is due back in late July.

Separately, the shops will be briefed on a strategic assignment—a jumping-off point for final presen tations, which are scheduled for August, said sources. The shops could not be reached, but a Gillette representative confirmed a “simple request for information from shops that are currently doing business with us.”

It’s not a “review,” the rep added, but rather an “internal assessment” that is part of the company’s larger “Strategic Sourcing Initiative.”

The initiative, which began last year, aims to cut costs and redirect savings into the marketing of core brands, such as Duracell. Other products include Oral-B toothbrushes, Braun electric shavers, Right Guard deodorant and the Gil lette line of razors (Mach 3, Venus, Sensor).

The client is working with Roth Associates, a New York consultancy, said sources. Roth could not reached.

Driving the broader initiative is CEO James Kilts, a former Nabisco executive who took the top job in early 2001. “Kilts is committed to putting everything he can back into buying for media,” said a source.

And while it’s likely that one shop will walk away with all the business, it’s not a fait accompli, a source said. Indeed, the client is believed to be looking at several options, including shifting duties among roster shops.

OMD handles about two-thirds of Gillette’s media duties globally, in North America and Europe. Universal McCann handles Latin America and the Asia Pacific region, while MindShare works on Duracell in Asia and parts of Latin America. (Sister Ogilvy & Mather handles creative on the battery brand in those markets.)

Ogilvy used to handle U.S. duties on Duracell—now at BBDO—and is one of a few shops that recently have discussed the brand with the Boston client [Adweek, June 10]. Others are said to include Grey—a nonroster shop—and McCann, which handles the brand in non-U.S. markets.