L'Oreal USA Launches Review of $2.3 Billion Media Account

Move Comes Roughly Six Months After Colgate Vet Takes Top Media Job

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L'Oreal USA has launched a review of planning and buying for all media, including search, social and programmatic, with a decision expected by year end, said Nadine Karp McHugh, senior VP-omnimedia, strategic investments and creative solutions, in a statement.

Nadine McHugh
Nadine McHugh

The review comes roughly six months after Ms. Karp McHugh moved to the post from Colgate-Palmolive Co., and less than 18 months after the company awarded digital media buying to DigitasLBi from Publicis Groupe sibling Moxie in November 2013.

L'Oreal is the seventh biggest U.S. advertiser, with more than $2.3 billion in spending according to the Ad Age Datacenter. Interpublic's UM currently handles TV and print buying.

The move would appear to open an opportunity for WPP to significantly expand what has long been a relatively small business with the third largest global advertiser. WPP's GroupM has been making gains with L'Oreal Group globally on the media side, with the holding company having already picked up business with the beauty giant in the Nordic region, U.K., Ireland, Southeast Asia, Canada, China, Germany and Latin America in recent years.

Prior to joining L'Oreal last October, Ms. Karp McHugh had been with Colgate since 2011 and had a 20-year career at WPP agencies, most recently GroupM, where she led the Unilever account at Mindshare and helped develop a training program for that agency and sibling Maxus. At Colgate, she worked with WPP agencies, which during her watch were merged into the Colgate-specific Red Fuse, combining people from Y&R, Wunderman, VML, MEC and GHG.

The move also comes as L'Oreal is exploring programmatic digital media buying options globally, looking both at technology platforms and whether it will go with an in-house, dedicated agency or other agency model, Chief Digital Officer Lubomira Rochet said in an interview last week.

"This review is about finding passionate, innovative and collaborative agency partners most attuned to L'Oréal's culture and consumers and then working together to re-define the future of marketing," Ms. Karp McHugh said in a statement.