Consumer-goods giant Unilever has awarded media duties in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong to Omnicom Group’s PHD after a review, according to sources.
The client spends an estimated $450 million annually in the region, per sources. The China incumbent was WPP Group’s Mindshare, which defended.
The review is one of several concurrent media agency reviews Unilever is conducting around the world and the first to be decided. The client confirmed in July that it was launching the reviews, including one that covers North America, where Mindshare is also the incumbent. (Sources said Mindshare handles approximately 80 percent of the client’s media business.)
Contenders in the North America review also include PHD and Interpublic Group’s Initiative.
The client spent $640 million in the U.S. on ads last year, according to Nielsen.
On a global basis, Unilever spends more than $7 billion a year on advertising and promotions. Worldwide media spending is believed to exceed $2 billion.
The client is also reviewing media assignments in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Russia, India and China. Decisions in the process will be made on a market-by-market basis.
At the time the reviews were disclosed a client rep confirmed Mindshare held most of the business. In addition to the U.S., Mindshare holds the business in the U.K. (where Unilever spends about $240 million annually on ads) and most other European countries (pan-European spending tops $1 billion).
Omnicom’s PHD has the Canadian business, while IPG’s Initiative works on Argentina, among other markets. Unilever said the competition was launched based on its corporate policy to periodically reevaluate media agency arrangements.
Both PHD and Mindshare declined comment and referred calls to the client. A client rep said she could not immediately confirm the decision.