Diageo Sends $350 Million Global Media Account to Omnicom’s PHD

Dentsu Aegis Network's Carat previously handled most of the account

Diageo owns a wide range of liquor brands, including Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker.

The largest media review of 2020 thus far, and for the foreseeable future, has come to close.

Diageo, whose brand portfolio includes Bailey’s, Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, has selected PHD as its global media agency of record. PHD will be responsible for media planning and buying across the majority of the Diageo portfolio, with support from the broader Omnicom Media Group network.

“After a closely contested review of our global media business, we are delighted to appoint PHD as our media agency of record across the majority of our business. The move encompasses both planning and buying, and draws on top talent and leadership from across Omnicom Media Group,” Diageo global media director Isabel Massey said in a statement.

She also acknowledged Dentsu Aegis Network’s Carat, which previously handled the majority of the Diageo account and defended it in a 2016 review. “I feel very lucky to have worked with incredible talent in Carat and our incumbent agencies, and I speak on behalf of all of Diageo in thanking the brilliant teams there for their partnership, specialist knowledge and the passion they have brought to our business,” Massey added.

Carat began working as U.S. media agency of record for Diageo back in 2010, following a review including the incumbent, GroupM’s MediaCom. It was among the finalists along with Publicis Media, according to sources with knowledge of the review. IPG Mediabrands also participated in the initial stages of the review, according to a source with knowledge of the process. Another source claimed that GroupM was invited to participate in the review but declined the invitation.

Representatives for Dentsu Aegis Network, GroupM and Publicis Groupe did not return requests for comment as of press time. IPG Mediabrands declined to comment.

Diageo spends an estimated $350 million on media globally, according to data consultancy COMvergence.

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