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VF Confirms Media Review

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NEW YORK VF Corp. confirmed Monday that it is conducting a review of media chores on its $110 million account and intends to consolidate all media buying —now spread over several shop—at a single agency.

The Greensboro, N.C.-based apparel company has four dozen clothing brands (Lee, Wrangler, Vanity Fair, Nautica and North Face among them) and all will be required to use the buying services of the agency that wins the review, said Kim McMillon, manager for global procurement, advertising and marketing services at VF Corp.

Seven agencies are vying for the business, although McMillon declined to identify any of the contenders.

Among those pitching not already on the roster are Aegis Group's Carat, independent Horizon, Havas' MPG and Publicis Groupe's Optimedia, sources said. At least two roster agencies, WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia and Omnicom Group's OMD, are also involved, sources said.

The agencies either declined comment or did not return calls.

"There's been a lot of debate about whether media is a commodity or not," said McMillon. "We don't think it is and to pull away the planning from the existing entity may not make sense. So the focus of the review is really to leverage the buying power collectively of VF Corp. so we can do more with our media and reinvest in the brands."

The client intends to name a winner in November.

The competition does not encompass planning, and individual brands will continue to plan via their creative shops, internal planning departments or through media specialty shops, McMillon said.

According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, VF spent slightly more than $110 million in measured media in 2004. Through the first half of 2005, Nielsen reports the company spent $25 million in ads.

This story updates an item posted on Sept. 16 with client confirmation and other details about the review.