R.J. Reynolds Consolidates Media Duties at Mullen

NEW YORK R.J. Reynolds Tobacco has consolidated its media planning and buying business at Interpublic Group’s Mullen, five months after merging with Brown & Williamson Tobacco, sources said.

The $50 million Brown & Williamson Tobacco account, won by Media Kitchen last year, will now move to Mullen’s Winston-Salem, N.C., office, which already works on R.J. Reynolds.

All told, Mullen will now handle approximately $150 million in overall R.J. Reynolds billings, one source said.

“We valued our relationship with Brown & Williamson and are proud of the work we’ve done,” said Michael Houston, corporate branding director of Media Kitchen parent Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, an MDC Partners agency in New York. “But we understand the clients need to consolidate.”

The business will move after year’s end, Houston said. Sources described the shift as a cost-saving measure made after a shootout between the two agencies that concluded several weeks ago.

Officials with Mullen and R.J. Reynolds could not immediately be reached for comment.

—with Andrew McMains and David Gianatasio