Mars, seeking to consolidate its worldwide media planning at a single agency, is awarding that business to MediaCom after a review that came down to the WPP agency and incumbent Starcom, sources said.
The media planning work is currently handled by eight agencies including Starcom, which handles the bulk of it, and at others like OMD and Carat. Starcom will continue to handle most of Mars' media buying business.
Global media spending is estimated at $1.7 billion. In the U.S. alone, Mars spent $677 million last year and $431 million in the first half of 2014, according to Kantar Media.
A Mars representative confirmed the move to MediaCom, issuing a statement: "With the constant change in the media landscape, this model will allow us to better collaborate across our global business to drive efficiency, effectiveness, and coordination in our media planning. This change brings our planning model in line with our existing global creative agency structure, and will allow us to further focus media as a growth driver."
Representatives at MediaCom and Starcom could not immediately be reached for comment.
This is the second recent major planning win at Starcom's expense. In October, Anheuser-Busch InBev selected the WPP media network for planning and buying in the U.S., where the brewer spends some $575 million in media each year. Starcom had been handling the planning part of that assignment, while media buying was previously done by the marketer's in-house unit, Busch Media. This year MediaCom has taken other significant pieces of business from Starcom, including Coca-Cola and A-B InBev's media accounts in Mexico as well as Procter & Gamble's digital media business in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Starcom has handled planning and buying on Mars since 2010, when the business shifted without a review, from sister shop MediaVest, following that agency’s addition of Kraft’s Cadbury unit.