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Initiative Wins Hasbro's Media Biz

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Toy marketer Hasbro has awarded its media assignment to Interpublic Group’s Initiative following a review, the client and agency have confirmed.
 
The incumbent was WPP Group’s MediaCom. Other contenders included Publicis Groupe’s Zenith Media and Omnicom Group’s PHD.
 
Hasbro, based in Pawtucket, R.I., spent approximately $115 million on ads in both 2010 and 2009, according to Nielsen. Going forward, total spending on the assignment, which also includes media duties on the Hasbro-Discovery joint venture cable network for kids, The Hub, is estimated at approximately $175 million annually, per sources.
 
Initiative will handle the assignment out of New York and Los Angeles, where both The Hub and the Hasbro production studios are based.
 
The client confirmed putting its media duties into review in December, citing changes in the business since its last formal review more than 10 years ago.

All media duties—planning, buying and digital—were part of the review. In addition, Hasbro is utilizing services provided by two Initiative specialty groups: Amphibian (a cross-platform promotions unit) and Initiative’s Innovations division (which focuses on new uses of media to maximize the effective of client marketing plans).
 
For MediaCom, the loss is the latest in a series of setbacks. In December, it lost pharmaceutical client GlaxoSmithKline to Omnicom’s PHD after a review. Other recent losses include Diageo and a planning assignment for Olive Garden. On the plus side, however, last year, the agency won Revlon and Travelers.
 
In January, in a bid to get back on track, the agency named a new North American CEO—agency veteran Harvey Goldhersz, who retains his position as global chief operating officer. He replaced Doug Checkeris, who had held the job since August 2007.