CARAT GETS $600 MILLION PHILIPS ACCOUNT

Boosts Media Shop's Billings to $3.5 Billion

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The soap opera is over.

Philips Electronics has awarded its $600 million consolidated global media buying and planning business to Aegis Group's Carat.

The shop was competing for the business with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative,

and a Philips incumbent, Bcom3 Group's MediaVest, which will hold on to the media buying and planning in Latin America for the time being, according to an executive with knowledge of the arrangement.

Carat eventually will also take over Latin America, the executive said.

The win by Carat makes the media independent into a $3.5 billion powerhouse in the U.S. Carat has just come off besting WPP Group's larger MindShare, New York, for Pfizer's estimated $700 million media buying and planning account. Carat, which already had Pfizer's $300 million account, added the $400 million in billings that belonged to the Pfizer-acquired Warner-Lambert Co.

In the case of Philips, Carat already handles their media in all of Europe, a consolidated assignment it won in 1996. Meanwhile, David Verklin, CEO of Carat North America, recently expanded his duties to cover Latin America, and is positioned to lead a transfer of the Philips business there to his agency.

Twists in review
The review took an odd twist two weeks ago. MediaVest had been dropped from the review early in the game and then was asked back in as a finalist. MediaVest, which handled broadcast buying for consumer electronics and personal-care products, is one of three media shops with Philips business in North America.

Havas Advertising's Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, handled print media buying. It was cut from the review after Philips pulled its creative assignments from parent Euro RSCG. Carat Freeman, Boston, a unit of Carat, was responsible for business-to-business print buying.

The media review, launched in February, originally included WPP Group's MindShare, Omnicom's OMD, and Zenith Media, jointly owned by Cordiant Communications Group and Publicis Groupe.

Stunned industry
Late last year, the Dutch marketer stunned the industry when it yanked its creative assignments from Euro RSCG without warning, consolidating that business at Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. DMB&B is a Bcom3 sibling to MediaVest.

DDB is Philips' main creative agency in the U.S., having won its estimated $300 million consumer electronics and corporate group accounts last December. DMB&B handles domestic appliances, including Norelco and Philishave, lighting and medical systems.

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