Discovery Business Shifts to MediaCom

Discover Financial Services has selected WPP Group’s MediaCom to handle approximately $90 million in buying and planning duties after a review, the client has confirmed.

Publicis Groupe’s Starcom was the incumbent, but did not defend because of a conflict with its $250 million Bank of America account, per sources. Starcom won BofA in March following a review.

MediaCom president Barbara Cipolla said, “Our selection by Discover Card as their media investment partner speaks to MediaCom’s reinvigoration as a fully integrated agency across all media disciplines and all of our offices. We will be working with Discover to further enhance their sales and brand awareness through traditional and digital media, as well as through highly visible associations with premier entertainment events.”

Beyond confirming its selection, the client declined further comment.

Spending in the highly competitive credit card category is up 25 percent for the first six months of the year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, and the client has significantly increased its media outlay over the last several years. In fact, Discover doubled its ad spending to $125 million in 2006 and almost doubled it again last year to $245 million, per Nielsen.

The spree continues this year, as the Riverwoods, Ill.-based client spent slightly more $275 million on ads through the first six months of the year.

Aegis Group’s Carat and the creative incumbent, Interpublic Group’s The Martin Agency, also contended for the media business. The creative was not in review. Martin won that assignment in April 2006.

The Discover Card was launched in 1986 and for many years was owned by Dean Witter and then Morgan Stanley. Last year Morgan Stanley divested Discover as a separate publicly traded corporation.

Jones Lundin Beals in Chicago managed the media review process.

This story corrects and updates an earlier item with a revised spending estimate; the business moving to MediaCom is worth $90 million, not $275 million as originally reported. Adweek regrets the error.