Shops See Global Potential in $55 Mil. Media Review

Roster shops last week began jockeying for position in food marketer Danone Group’s estimated $55 million U.S. media buying and planning review.

To some suitors, the search could become more than a regional contest for brands such as Dannon Yogurt, Evian water and Lea & Perrins steak sauce. It could evolve into a global review for Danone’s media business, estimated at $350 million-plus.

The Paris-based client’s U.S. creative assignment, handled by WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in New York, is not up for review. The process will be run without a consultant, under the auspices of an undisclosed internal committee of Danone executives, said company representative Anna Moses at Dan one’s Tarrytown, N.Y., U.S. headquarters.

“Any good company will take a look from time to time to make sure that its agencies are performing and determine how best to spend its ad dollars,” said Moses.

The client, however, has not ruled out going global with the review, sources said.

“Sometimes when you look at a regional consolidation, companies can find making the leap to enlarge the account to include a broader arena has definite benefits,” said one media executive.

Contenders include Y&R media arm The Media Edge, here, which handles the $40 million media buying and planning account for all Dannon brands. Grey Global Group’s MediaCom in New York is also contending; it does print and outdoor buying for Danone Natural Spring Water, worth an estimated $3 million, according to CMR.

Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG has done media planning for the spring-water account in the past, sources said, noting that function has been shifted over the past several months to Havas’ Media Planning in New York. That shop and Carat, here, which works with Danone overseas, are also expected to participate.