Starwood to Name MediaVest

NEW YORK Starwood Hotels and Resorts is poised to assign media chores on its estimated $50 million ad account to Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest, according to sources.

On Tuesday, a Starwood representative said the account was being placed in review [Adweek Online, Dec. 13].

Sources said, however, that the client could disclose its engagement of MediaVest here soon as tomorrow.

Officials at Starwood and MediaVest could not be reached late Thursday.

Interpublic Group’s Deutsch in New York has handled media duties for Starwood, as well as creative on its Sheraton and Westin brand. Those creative assignments will remain with the agency, sources said. A Deutsch rep declined comment.

Sources said the Coca-Cola connections of recently installed Starwood senior managers are driving the impending shift to MediaVest, which—along with its sibling network Starcom—handles Coke’s estimated $460 million U.S. buying and planning account.

Starwood in March named Javier Benito as evp and CMO. Benito reports to CEO Steven Heyer.

Benito left his position as CMO at Coca-Cola North America in January 2005. He also has served as CMO at Starbucks and as an executive in the marketing departments of Procter & Gamble and Nike.

Heyer is a former COO of Coca-Cola; he joined Starwood in October 2004.