NEW YORK Microsoft has consolidated global direct marketing duties at WPP Group's Wunderman, reducing previous retainer shop MRM to a project agency, the client confirmed today.
The chores had been split between Wunderman and MRM, a division of Interpublic Group's McCann Worldgroup. The handoff is expected to be completed in July.
"The consolidation of that assignment is a result of the consolidation of businesses and programs in the current economy," said Gayle Troberman, general manager of advertising and customer engagement at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. Wunderman and MRM both declined to comment.
The shift, which occurred without a review, also is designed to save money on management and production costs. Wunderman -- a unit of WPP's Young & Rubicam Brands -- and MRM had shared duties on the account since 2004.
Back then, Microsoft consolidated its direct business at the two shops after a review, resulting in the elimination of thousands of smaller agencies.
At the time, global billings were estimated at $400-500 million.
The net gain for Wunderman in the latest consolidation could not immediately be determined.
In the 2004 consolidation, the account was divided along Microsoft business lines, with Wunderman taking on servers and tools, home entertainment, MSN, mobility and corporate (excluding legal) and MRM getting Information Worker (including the Office line of products), client, Microsoft Business Solutions and corporate/legal.
The shift does not impact IPG units Universal McCann, which remains Microsoft's lead global media agency, and McCann Erickson, its global network. Microsoft's creative roster also includes WPP Group's JWT here and MDC Partners' Crispin, Porter + Bogusky in Boulder, Colo.