Bose Starts Global Media Agency Review in Consolidation Play

Incumbent Mullen Expected to Defend its Business with Sibling Initiative

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Bose has begun a global media-agency review as it seeks to consolidate its agency relationships around the world, according to people familiar with the matter.

London-based search consultant Ebiquity is supporting the review.

The company currently works with a number of shops across markets and is looking for one that can support three main regions: North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Agencies invited to pitch will hear early this month; the actual review process will begin in mid-May. The selection is slated for late July, according to people familiar with the request for information.

Interpublic Group's Mullen is the media incumbent in the U.S., where the Framingham, Mass.-based sound system and headset giant spent $206 million on measured media last year, according to Kantar Media. Mullen is expected to defend its business with sibling shop Initiative. The RFI went out to shops within Aegis, WPP's GroupM and Omnicom, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bose couldn't be reached for coment at press time; the Interpublic shops declined to comment.

The review comes as Bose is experiencing stronger competition from Sonos and Beats by Dre.

Sonos and Bose, which compete in the home-speaker category, both recently inked sponsorships with major sports leages and announced updated wireless products.

Bose last month extended its sponsorship with the National Football League as its official headphone and headset brand. The comapny launched its SoundTouch wireless streaming line in October and a new Bluetooth product in February.

Sonos, which recently revamped its wireless speaker product, will use a new Major League Baseball sponsorship to sell consumers a new product, a $20 game-streaming audio service via MLB.com/GameDay, while promoting its brand.

Sonos, meanwhile, is building marketing programs around pop culture. Late last year Sonos introduced an original song, a mashup by Rick Rubin, for a TV spot. And in January, it ran another original track -- a version of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" from N.A.S.A. and Karen O -- for a TV spot that ran during the Grammys.

Meanwhile, Beats by Dre has come to dominate the headphone category which accounts for a healthy chunk of Bose's media spending in the U.S.

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