SmithKline Consolidates TV Buying at Grey Unit
NEW YORK–SmithKline Beecham shifted $40 million in national syndicated TV buying duties to MediaCom, consolidating its $150 million national electronic media business at the Grey Advertising unit. Duties were at Jordan McGrath Case & Partners, but the client opted to shift the business after its purchase by Euro RSCG.
SFM Media and Ogilvy & Mather, a roster shop, were also considered, the client said.
MediaCom has been on a hot streak, consolidating accounts for several clients. AlliedSignal two weeks ago shifted some $15 million to the agency, and last month Seagram Americas handed it $50 million in duties.
MediaCom, which bills $8 billion worldwide, did not officially set up shop in the U.S. until last June, yet it already claims $2 billion in domestic billings. Among its 1998 wins:
$90 million from Pharmacia & Upjohn; $100 million from AirTouch Communications; $20 million from LVMH Mo’t Hennessy Louis Vuitton; $50 million from Hasbro’s Tiger Electronics unit; $30 million from USA Networks; and wins from Kraft and Campbell’s.
MediaCom, founded in the 1980s, has since expanded throughout Europe. Although Grey had a domestic media unit, it chose not to import the brand until its identity was built abroad, said Alec Gerster, chairman of MediaCom Worldwide.
Gerster owed MediaCom’s U.S. success to several initiatives, including its Maxis optimization software, which was perfected abroad. Co-managing directors Jon Mandel, who oversees negotiations, and Dene Callas, who develops strategy, are also credited with building its stature, he said.
While winning auto, computer or retail accounts are immediate goals, acquisitions may also be on the horizon if a shop has something “unique and specific,” said Gerster.
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