Clorox Taps Universal McCann for U.S. Digital Media

Interpublic Shop Will Place Business in Its San Francisco Office as Marketer Looks to Boost Investment in the Category

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Clorox has hired Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann as its digital-media agency in the U.S. after a review.

UM will handle digital media for the namesake bleach and cleaning products; Green Works home-care products; Pine-Sol cleaners; Fresh Step cat litter; Kingsford charcoal; Hidden Valley and K C Masterpiece dressings and sauces; Brita water-filtration products and Glad bags and wraps and containers. The business will be based in UM's San Francisco office and led by Greg Pomaro, senior VP and client business partner. Clorox declined to comment for this story.

Though the size of the account certainly doesn't compare to that of Microsoft, which UM lost in March, the win helps fill a hole in the San Francisco office. There is abundant digital talent to reallocate to the Clorox business, the agency noted.

The incumbent, Omnicom Group's OMD, which confirmed that it was involved in the pitch but deferred comment to the client, continues to work with Clorox on the majority of its media-buying and -planning business across product categories. According to knowledgeable executives, AKQA was also involved in the final round of the review. The agency, which has boosted its digital media capabilities, recently picked up the search business for a number of Clorox cleaning brands.

The company spent $376 million in overall measured media in 2010, $17 million of which was spent on U.S. internet display media, according to Kantar Media. An executive close to the business explained that in the year to come, Clorox plans to spend about 10%-15% of its overall 2010 spending on digital media.

It's a significant increase in Clorox's investment in the space, a move in line with the company's ongoing emphasis on digital and social media. About two years ago, the company moved Mary O' Connell from her lead PR post into the role of director-global digital media and public relations. And last year, Ad Age reported that Clorox was getting so serious about its social-media efforts that it had planned to hire an attorney to oversee the programs. At the time, it had ramped up its efforts in social media via Facebook fan pages for Clorox and Brita and a new blog called Understanding Bleach, among other initiatives.

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