Accounts in Review: GNC Does an About-Face in Unbundling Its Ad Business

GNC, in its decision to split its ad business among three shops, has abandoned a bundled model after just a year.

In early 2014, the retailer consolidated its creative and media business at Carmichael Lynch, after working with the duo of Arnell (creative) and Cramer-Krasselt (media). Ah, but that was under a previous CEO, Joe Fortunato, who in August was replaced by Michael Archbold.

So, now three shops are better than one (or two), as Consigliere becomes lead creative agency, 22squared takes on digital advertising and Crossmedia inherits media planning and buying. The changes came after a pitch involving a handful of other shops, but not Carmichael Lynch, which declined to defend.

And while GNC completes its search, L'Oréal, which spends a massive $780 million in media in the U.S., is just beginning a review of its domestic media business, currently split between UM and DigitasLBi.


Unilever: Global Media

Media spend: $5 billion
Incumbents: Mindshare, Initiative, PHD
Contenders: Incumbents, possibly others
Decision: December


L’Oréal: Media

Media spend: $780 million
Incumbents: UM (traditional), DigitasLBi (digital)
Contenders: Incumbent, others to be determined
Completion: December



Hershey: Creative

Media spend: $650 million
Incumbents: Arnold (traditional), Havas Worldwide (digital)
Contenders: Incumbents, undisclosed others
Completion: April


Sears/Kmart: Creative, Media

Media spend: $560 million
Incumbents: Sears: mcgarrybowen, Havas Worldwide, Havas Media; Kmart: FCB, Havas Media
Contenders: Teams from Interpublic, Publicis Groupe and Havas, led by FCB, Leo Burnett and Havas Worldwide, respectively
Completion: May


Royal Caribbean: Creative

Media spend: $80 million
Incumbent: JWT
Contenders: Incumbent, undetermined others
Completion: May


Scotts Miracle-Gro: Media

Media spend: $80 million
Incumbents: MEC, Active International
Contenders: MEC, Horizon Media, Zenith Media, Mediahub, Havas Media
Consultant: Pile + Co.
Completion: April


MetLife: Creative, media planning

Media spend: $50 million
Incumbent: Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Contenders: To be determined
Consultant: Select Resources International
Completion: June


GMC: Creative, Media

Media spend: $30 million
Incumbent: Carmichael Lynch
Contenders: Consigliere, 22Squared, Crossmedia, among others
Awarded to Consigliere (creative lead), 22Squared (digital), Cross Media

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