WPP, Omnicom, others on line up for Unilever’s global media-buying review

Global agencies are set to line up to contest Unilever’s global media-buying review. The FMCG giant’s account is one of the largest in the world.

Unilever had earlier dismissed the review as a “hypothesis”. The company recently disclosed in a statement: “We can confirm that we are doing a media agency review that is part of our standard process to ensure best in class media agency partnership.”

According to reports, the company is said to have issued invitations to a wide number of agency groups but there is no detail on how the company plans to run the process or shortlist them.

Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, spent 7.1bn euros (£6.1bn, $8.3bn) on brand marketing investment last year and owns brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Comfort, Dove, Hellmann’s and Marmite. WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic are incumbents on the media account. Industry observers suggested have disclosed that Dentsu and Publicis Groupe are also looking at pitching for Unilever in some regions of the world.

The UK-based group has holding company relationships with WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic in different geographies around the world. WPP’s Mindshare, Omnicom’s PHD and Interpublic’s Initiative have held the media duties on a longstanding foundation as incumbents. However the consumer goods manufacturer has been in search of a broader relationship.

Quite recently, Unilever shook up its broader advertising and marketing operations in 2017, when it launched an effective drive and fended off a bid approach by Kraft Heinhz. Publicis Groupe won a large shopper marketing brief from Unilever in the US earlier this year.

Speculations are being made as to whether China will be included in Unilever’s review considering WPP picked up the account from Omnicom following a review there in 2020.



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