Unilever Launches Global Media Review

NEW YORK Unilever today said it has launched a global review that encompasses almost all of its media business, including U.S. chores held by WPP Group’s Mindshare. The client spent $640 million in the U.S. alone on ads last year.

On a global basis, Unilever spends more than $7 billion a year on advertising and promotions. Worldwide media spending was not immediately available, but it likely approaches or even exceeds $2 billion.

Along with Mindshare, various shops from WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic handle media for the giant packaged-goods company, and all three incumbent agency groups are invited to participate.

A client rep said most of the business in review is handled by Mindshare, which in addition to the U.S. also 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.

Also included in the review are 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.

Unilever said the competition was launched based on its corporate policy to periodically re-evaluate media agency arrangements.
Laura Klauberg, Unilever vice president global media, is running the review. She said in a statement: “As we drive media innovation and improved value for Unilever, and as dramatic changes in the media landscape reshape our communication needs, we are continuing to evaluate the service and capabilities of our media agency partners across all disciplines.”

Unilever’s decision to call a global review caps off a big week of media account action that saw agency shifts by major players such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Zurich Financial and LVMH.