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$500 Mil.+ Kellogg U.S. Media in Play

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NEW YORK Kellogg confirmed today that it has put its $500 million-plus U.S. media buying business into review.

Publicis Groupe's Starcom handles the account.

The move follows the cereal maker's decision to retain media agency Mindshare in the U.K. last month, after a review of that market where spending is estimated at $100 million.

But a Kellogg representative said there are no plans for a global review and that for now, the process is restricted to U.S. buying chores.

The rep also stressed that there are no current plans for a creative review.

"We are reviewing our media buying practices in the U.S. as part of a normal business process to look for opportunities to strengthen our execution," the rep said.

In the U.K., Mindshare defended against Carat, which handles Kellogg media in Germany and France, and Starcom.

The U.S. review is big news, given the decades-long relationship between Kellogg and Chicago-based Leo Burnett and co-owned media agency Starcom.

But sources said it is not surprising, as corporations have focused more sharply on the return they get from marketing and advertising expenses.

Nielsen Monitor-Plus pegged the company's 2004 U.S. ad spending at $510 million, and expenditures through the first eight months of 2005 totaling $400 million. In its 2004 annual report Kellogg put its total worldwide ad expenses at $805 million, up 15 percent from the previous year.