L'Oreal Holds Digital-Media-Consolidation Pitch

Move Comes as Beauty Giant Steps Up Online Marketing Initiatives

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- As it looks to ramp up digital spending, L'Oreal is conducting an agency review for digital media-buying duties across all its U.S. brands and divisions. A winner is expected to be announced early next year.

Marc Speichert, U.S. chief marketing officer for the cosmetics and beauty behemoth, declined to comment on who's participating in the review. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann, New York, handles the existing TV and print buying assignments for L'Oreal in the U.S., and Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia handles media and communications planning for the company. L'Oreal's digital shops include R/GA, New York and Moxie Interactive, Atlanta.

L'Oreal competitors such as Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever have tended to consolidate digital with other media-buying duties in recent years; P&G did with Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group and Unilever did with WPP's Mindshare.

"We have agencies that currently are handling our businesses and we have some new agencies that came to the table as part of the pitch," Mr. Speichert said. "We are very close to making a decision. Given the level of spending we will have next year [on digital] it made a lot of sense to create that structure," he said.

The review extends from consumer brands such as L'Oreal Paris and Garnier to prestige brands, including Lancome, active cosmetics such as Vichy and retail including Body Shop and Kiehl's.

In one exclusive global deal already in the works, L'Oreal plans to advertise on Apple's iAd platform for iPad for Lancome in the U.S. next year, after starting the campaign in Europe, Mr. Speichert noted.

L'Oreal spent a staggering $890 million last year on measured media according to Kantar Media but only $5.7 million on internet advertising. That figure, however, doesn't cover advertising on smaller websites, search, mobile and some video advertising and doesn't capture the full cost of behavioral targeting.

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