Zenith Lands $120 Mil. Pillsbury Media Planning

General Mills’ Pillsbury unit is shifting its $120 million-plus media planning business from Starcom MediaVest Group’s Starlink in Chicago to another Publicis Groupe shop, Zenith Media in New York, sources said.

The move marks the first media-side shuffle to arise from Publicis Groupe’s September acquisition of Bcom3. Zenith creative sister shop Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, which handles an estimated $300 million in General Mills creative and media planning business, may also have some involvement in Pillsbury media planning, sources said. Among the brands Saatchi handles are Cheerios, Yo plait and Fruit Roll Ups.

“General Mills is a very traditional advertiser,” said one source, indicating that the client may wish to keep media planning closer to creative.

The decision was made without a review.

One source noted that exactly how “the account is being transitioned with respect to Zenith’s partnership with Saatchi is still under discussion.”

Creative duties on Pills bury are expected to move from D’Arcy Mas ius Benton & Bowles, which Publicis Groupe is shuttering, to Saatchi [Ad week, Oct. 14], which shares several clients with Zenith, including Toyota.

Zenith won General Mills’ $450 million broadcast buying in 2001 after a consolidation review. Later that year, Diageo PLC sold Pillsbury to Gen eral Mills, and buying moved from Starcom in Chicago to Zen ith. Interpublic’s Camp bell Mithun, Minneapolis, which handles General Mills print and spot broadcast, as well as creative and media planning on several brands, is unaffected, sources said.

General Mills vp/advertising Rick Hosfield did not return calls. Rich Hamilton, CEO of Zenith Optimedia Group in the U.S., declined comment. Starcom and Saatchi execs declined comment.