Carat Wins MasterCard's $250 Million Global Media Business

Incumbent UM Holds On to Latin America

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MasterCard has selected Carat to be its new media agency across most of the globe, retaining incumbent UM only in Latin America.

CMO Raja Rajamannar
CMO Raja Rajamannar

The marketer spent $126.6 million on domestic measured media in 2012, the last full year of available spending data from Kantar Media. Globally, the company spends about $250 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

The latest review came down to a group of finalists that also included a team from WPP's Group M and Omnicom's PHD.

A MasterCard spokesman confirmed news of the decision. Other companies mentioned in this article either declined to comment or couldn't immediately be reached.

"MasterCard regularly reviews and assesses industry resources as part of responsible vendor and agency management," the spokesman said in an email. "At this time we can confirm that Carat has been awarded the consolidated media business in all markets except Latin America. Universal McCann will retain the business in Latin America. The integrated McCann XBC team will continue to support MasterCard in other marketing activities, including creative, digital and sponsorships/partnerships."

While the addition of yet another sizeable global account is good news for Dentsu's Carat, the news is not so welcome for UM, the Interpublic Group of Cos. media shop that's supported the business for a number of years. MasterCard consolidated global media planning and buying in 2010 by adding the U.S. to UM's responsibilities managing the business abroad.

That review came just several months after then-Chief Marketing Officer Alfredo Gangotena assumed his post. Last year new CMO Raja Rajamannar, who joined in August, likewise put the business in review after just a few months on the job. Mr. Rajamannar previously spent time in senior roles at two managed health care companies, WellPoint and Humama. Prior to that he spent 15 years at Citigroup, during which time he served as global CMO of the bank's cards and payments business.

For Carat, the financial services win tops off an amazing new business run. The shop won the massive General Motors account in early 2012 and has racked up quite a portfolio since then, with accounts including Macy's, Danone and additional Sony business in the U.S. Parent group Aegis also won Reckitt Benckiser.

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