Estee Lauder Splits $400 Mil. Media Biz

NEW YORK Cosmetics and perfume marketer Estee Lauder has split its $400 million global media account between WPP Group’s MindShare, which adds U.S. duties, and Omnicom Group’s M2M, which retains the business non-U.S. territories, per sources.

The awards came after a review that began late last year. The client denied that the assignments had been made, but sources indicated those shops had prevailed and that deals are likely to be complete within two weeks.

Estee Lauder spent about $150 million in each of the last two years in U.S. media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Some 80 percent of the company’s U.S. ad budget is spent in print. Estimated global spending is $400 million.

Three shops had been vying for the business, including WPP’s Maxus, the North American incumbent. But sister shop Mindshare took over the pitch and will manage the U.S. account, per sources. Calls to MindShare and Maxus were referred to the client.

Omnicom’s M2M is the incumbent shop for the U.K., Japan and other markets. An earlier report indicated that OMD had won the non-U.S.portion of the account, which several sources, including the client, denied. OMD did not pitch the account, the client said. That’s probably because it handles Coty and Elizabeth Arden in various markets.

Havas’ MPG, a non-roster contender, did not win an assignment. Calls to MPG and Omnicom were referred to the client.

The cosmetics giant markets some two-dozen brands including Clinique, Aveda, Aramis and Origins. At the time the review became public in January, the company indicated that it wanted to consolidate the business, including media planning, buying and digital duties, at one shop. But after the review, it apparently concluded that service from the two existing holding companies handling the account would continue to be the best alternative.

The client said its net sales surpassed $7 billion in fiscal 2007, up 9 percent from the previous year. About half of that was derived from North America, another $2.5 billion from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and roughly $1 billion from Asia.