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Red Bull Media in Play

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Energy drink marketer Red Bull has put its U.S. media assignment into review.

The incumbent is El Segundo, Calif.-based Siltanen & Partners, which is not defending, the shop has confirmed.

Contenders in the review, per sources, include Aegis Group's Carat, Publicis Groupe's Optimedia and WPP Group's MediaCom.

The brand spent $50 million on ads in 2009, down nearly 30 percent from the $70 million it spent in 2008, according to Nielsen. For the first six months of 2010, it spent $22 million, per Nielsen.

The contending agencies couldn't be reached or referred calls to the company. A client representative did not respond to a query seeking comment.

But Rob Siltanen confirmed that the review is ongoing. "We don't usually defend business if it goes into review," said Siltanen, particularly after an "extended relationship" where the client essentially knows a shop's offering and capabilities.

Siltanen has handled U.S. media chores for Red Bull for about 18 months. Before that, the account was at Santa Monica, Calif.-based Kastner & Partners, which is also the creative agency on the account. (Creative chores are not part of the review.)

Media chores shifted to Siltanen without a review, and most of the Kastner team on the media account headed to Siltanen to continue work on the assignment. Kastner had handled the media duties for about eight years, per Siltanen.

Siltanen declined to say why Red Bull opted for a review, but described the split as amicable. "The relationship is still really good," he said.

Red Bull, which is based in Austria, reported revenue of $4.4 billion in 2009, down 1.7 percent from the previous year.