$75 Mil. Yogurt Account to MEC

NEW YORK Yogurt maker Danone has appointed WPP’s Mediaedge:cia to handle media duties in the U.K. after a review, the client confirmed today.

The incumbent on the estimated $75 million account was Aegis Group’s Carat, which defended. The other finalists were Havas’ MPG and Omnicom Group’s OMD.

The U.K. decision came three weeks after Danone awarded its $75 million U.S. business to MPG, following a five-month review [Adweek Online, Oct. 4]. WPP Group’s MediaCom was the U.S. incumbent.

The U.K. pitch started in July, with presentations taking place in September.

“All four agencies exhibited a high level of competence and professionalism,” said Gayle Noah, Danone’s U.K. media manager, in a statement. “But it was MEC who demonstrated a deep understanding of our brands, creativity and strategic insight into how we can navigate the challenges ahead. In addition, they showed us they could add real value through strong media performance and ROI.”

MPG won several other Danone markets in recent months. The agency last month won the Mexican media business, where spending is expected to surpass $50 million in 2007.

MPG has also in recent months successfully defended Danone’s $95 million media business in Spain and the client’s $15 million assignment in Portugal.

In its biggest Danone win by far, MPG added the client’s $280 million account in France last December.

MPG and incumbent MediaCom, a unit of WPP’s GroupM, were the final contenders. Both pitched from their offices here.

The assignment is worth more than $75 million, as the client prepares to increase its domestic media presence.

Participants in earlier rounds included Omnicom’s PHD and Aegis Group’s Carat. All four pitched the business from their offices in New York.

The pitch was the latest step in a country-by-country media appraisal the company started last year. The U.S. review began in the spring [Adweek Online, May 19].