Combe Reaches Beyond In-House Team for the First Time
NEW YORK--A word-of-mouth recommendation and good chemistry were factors in Combe's decision to tap The Media Edge to handle media planning duties on its health and beauty aid brands.
Media Edge also will handle buying for spot broadcast and print ads. But the bulk of the buying--as well as creative duties--remains in-house. Last year, Combe spent $80 million on advertising, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
This is the first time the White Plains, N.Y., company--whose brands include Grecian Formula, Odor Eaters and Lanacane--has hired an outside shop, said Gail Perlow, corporate vice president.
Dramatic growth and the departure of a senior media planner from Combe's Insight Media spurred a review of its media planning duties. The client, which considered two other undisclosed agencies, chose Media Edge because of its "people, resources and tools," Perlow said.
A media account more focused on planning rather than buying is rare for Media Edge, which typically handles both planning and buying duties or buying duties alone.
But the shop was open in the category, and there was good chemistry with Combe, said Beth Gordon, Media Edge's chairman and CEO.
"This is a family-owned company," she added. "There is a sensitivity toward working with people."
As for the competitiveness among health and beauty aids, Gordon added, "Those are always the best challenges--trying to do something differentiating in categories like that."
Media Edge has added about $500 million in billings domestically this year. Wins include Campbell's ($200 million) and Chanel ($25 million). Total U.S. billings now exceed
$4 billion; globally the figure is around $10 billion. Recently, the shop combined its domestic and international operations, naming Gordon, former president and CEO of North America, to the top job. Former international president Paul Woolmington is now vice chairman and chief strategic officer [Adweek, Nov. 22]. K