Publicis Groupe Is the Big Winner in Samsung’s Global Review

Tech giant spends $2 billion annually on media

Publicis Groupe can breathe a huge sigh of relief.

The holding company's agencies were the most exposed in Samsung's global marketing services review, yet beat the typically poor odds of incumbents. Specifically, Leo Burnett bested shops such as Grey to retain its role as global agency network, and Starcom remains the global shop for media planning and buying, according to sources. The other finalists for the media business were WPP Group's MEC and Interpublic Group's BPN, said sources.

In addition, another Publicis Groupe agency, Rosetta, will join Samsung's roster and take on a chunk of the global digital business, along with others, including Sid Lee and Interpublic's R/GA, which already works on the brand, sources said.

Finally, Samsung has added two "boutique" creative agencies to create global campaigns, as proposed in the company's initial request for proposals. Sources identified those shops as Publicis Groupe's Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Wieden + Kennedy, an independent.

All told, Samsung spends an estimated $2 billion on media annually. So, by any estimation, these wins are big.

In December, Samsung hired SP Kim as its new chief marketing officer. He was previously, president, CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe and was charged with reviewing all of the company’s marketing and media relationships.

The global review had no effect on agencies that work regionally for Samsung. For example, roster players like 72andSunny, CHI & Partners and McKinney will continue to create ads for Samsung products in markets like the U.S.

The Seoul, Korea-based Samsung could not immediately be reached. The search consultancy that managed the process, R3, also could not be reached.