Updated: Levi’s Hires OMD

NEW YORK Levi Strauss has awarded media buying and planning on its namesake and Dockers brands to Omnicom Group’s OMD.

Sources said the business was awarded after Levi’s failed to come to terms with Publicis Groupe’s Zenith Media on a contract.

Levi’s disputes such assertions, and late Friday issued this statement: “For the record, Levi Strauss denies that it awarded its business to OMD ‘after failing to come to terms with Zenith Media.’ Levi Strauss did not pursue any discussions with Zenith, as we were focused on finalizing terms with OMD.”

Sources said Zenith and Levi’s held several negotiating sessions, but it was unclear why no accord was reached.

IPG’s Initiative, the buying incumbent, was the other finalist.

The client spent $70 million on ads in 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Up to now, planning had been split between Interpublic Group’s Draftfcb (Dockers) and Publicis-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty (Levi’s).

BBH also has been the client’s lead creative agency in the Americas, though the client called a creative review for that region earlier this month, and BBH indicated it would not defend. The shop continues to work on creative chores for the client in Europe and Asia.

Last month, OMD picked up media chores for McAfee in a joint effort with siblings Tribal and DDB, and successfully defended its Henkel assignment.

This story updates an earlier item with Levi’s statement.