Unilever Concludes Its Global Media Review and Shifts Some Assignments

Mindshare, PHD swap regions overseas

One of the year's biggest global media agency reviews has concluded, with Unilever shifting some regional duties between roster shops Mindshare and PHD, but making few changes overall.

Mindshare, a unit of WPP's GroupM, added some markets in Eastern Europe that had been handled by PHD, but ceded Australia to PHD, an Omnicom Group agency, in the shuffle, said sources close to the process. Mindshare also added global data and programmatic chores.

Other major assignments remain unchanged. Those include Mindshare's mandate for North America and Africa, and PHD's work in Asia. Both Mindshare and Interpublic Group's Initiative kept their respective assignments in Europe, and the latter retained duties in Russia. (Latin America, handled by Initiative, was not included in the process.)

The agencies either could not be reached or declined to comment. Unilever representatives did not immediately respond to queries.

Unilever, which markets brands such as Axe, Dove and Vaseline, among many others, ranks among the world's leading advertisers, spending more than $5 billion annually in global measured media, according to some estimates. In the U.S. alone, the company spends more than $800 million each year on ads, per Kantar Media.

The review, a mandated process that generally takes place every three years, began in January.

In this year of intense activity and changes for media agencies, Mindshare and PHD have frequently found themselves in the thick of things. Mindshare added U.S. and global assignments from General Mills, and also won Booking.com. On the downside, it saw CVS depart, and currently faces a global review for Abbott Laboratories.

Meanwhile, PHD scored major wins from S.C. Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline. (For the latter, incumbents PHD and MediaCom prevailed in a competition for GSK's global media after the client absorbed Novartis' vaccine business.) PHD also recently picked up search chores for Unilever.