Hasbro Launches Media Review

Toy-making giant Hasbro has put its media assignment into review, the company has confirmed.
 
The company, based in Pawtucket, R.I., spent around $115 million on ads in 2009, according to Nielsen.
 
The incumbent on the account is WPP’s MediaCom. All media duties—planning, buying and digital—are included in the review process.
 
A client representative said, “As our business has evolved, we feel it is prudent to explore other agency opportunities. And we have asked a number of agencies to come in and present, including MediaCom, our incumbent.”
 
MediaCom is expected to defend the assignment.
 
The rep declined to identify other shops that have been invited to pitch the business. MediaCom officials couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
 
For years, Hasbro has been one of the top advertisers in children’s advertising, and MediaCom has handled its media agency chores for more than 10 years.
 
Sources said Hasbro surprised the agency with news of the review two weeks ago, although 10 years is longer than most marketers go these days without making a formal assessment of their roster shops.
 
The review comes at a somewhat stressful time for the agency: It’s  awaiting word on whether it will retain drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline, which launched a review of its $700 million U.S. media assignment in September. A decision is said to be imminent. In addition to MediaCom, contenders in that process include Omnicom’s PHD, Publicis Groupe’s Starcom and Havas’ MPG.

This fall Hasbro and Discovery Communications launched a new joint venture children’s network called The Hub, tapping kids programming veteran Margaret Loesch to run it. The net airs on what had been the Discovery Kids Network and reaches 60 million homes.  

Separately, Hasbro appointed the DLB Group to design, maintain and host Hasbro’s interactive online campaigns, in the Latin American region, starting in 2011.

For the first nine months of the year, Hasbro reported revenues of $1.7 billion, up 1 percent versus a year ago.