Mars Consolidates $1.4 Billion Global Media Business With WPP’s GroupM

Publicis, Omnicom lose business in review

The company has been shrinking its agency roster for several years.
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CPG conglomerate Mars has concluded a large-scale review launched earlier this year by consolidating all of its media planning and buying duties with WPP’s GroupM network, multiple sources close to the matter confirmed this morning.

MediaCom will retain the business and serve as global media agency of record. The new arrangement goes into effect on January 1, 2019.

The McLean, Va.-based corporation, whose products include everything from petcare names like Pedigree and Whiskas to classic candies like Skittles and Snickers as well as “symbioscience” lines, previously worked with several agency networks including Publicis Groupe’s Starcom, which ran most of the local media buying operations around the world, and Omnicom’s OMD, which oversaw buying in a few smaller markets.

The review launched in January and was managed by London-based consultancy ID Comms. The firm has also recently overseen reviews for such brands as GSK.

At the time, Adweek reported that Mars looked to consolidate the entirety of its global media with a single network. Moving forward, both Starcom and OMD will lose the business.

In a January statement, Mars chief marketing and customer officer Andrew Clarke focused on “being quicker, bolder and more innovative with our choices in this ever-changing media landscape” and suggested that the winner of the review would be able to demonstrate its skills in the data and analytics arena.

According to a release issued after this story went live, the consolidation reflects an ongoing effort by Mars to “build competitive advantage through insights, investment and innovation.”

“GroupM created a custom operating model for us which enables us to put data at the heart of our decision making, drive speed at a global, local and campaign level, and use our resources efficiently,” said Mars global media director Rob Rakowitz.

Clarke added, “This partnership will be a crucial accelerator in our ambition to be quicker, bolder and even more innovative when it comes to meeting our consumer needs.”

The review also followed a 2014 decision to move all media planning duties to MediaCom instead of splitting them between that network, Starcom and OMD. The company’s media roster formerly included eight agencies.

According to Kantar Media, Mars spent approximately $745 million on paid media in the U.S. in 2017. Mars’s own estimates place its global yearly spend at $1.4 to $1.6 billion.

Spokespeople for GroupM, Starcom and OMD have not yet responded to requests for comment. MediaCom and ID Comms representatives declined to comment.


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