MasterCard Consolidates Media at Universal McCann

Shift of $343 Million U.S. Budget Aligns Business at IPG

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- MasterCard is ending its 15-year relationship with the agency that helped it launch its "Priceless" campaign, Omnicom Group's GSD&M Idea City, and consolidating its U.S. media-planning and buying business with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann.

MasterCard ranked No. 93 in Ad Age's 100 Leading National Advertisers report, tallying $343 million in U.S. ad spending.

UM was already managing MasterCard's media business outside the U.S. The move unites MasterCard's creative, media, PR and digital accounts under the Interpublic umbrella, with McCann Erickson Worldwide handling creative, R/GA managing digital, Weber Shandwick running PR duties and Octagon handling sports marketing and partnerships.

A GSD&M Idea City representative declined to comment. In a statement, MasterCard said it has "enjoyed a great partnership and success with GSD&M/Idea City for more than 10 years and we are extremely proud of the work we have done together. At this time, we have decided to consolidate our media-planning and -buying responsibilities with our global agency of record, Universal McCann, to create greater efficiencies and consistency around the globe."

In a June interview, Alfredo Gangotena, named global CMO of MasterCard only two months earlier, addressed with Ad Age the issue of his agency partners delivering the global "Priceless" message while also addressing specific, regional financial issues.

"You can have a global message, but it needs to be delivered locally," he said. "Something new that we are starting to do is that in a given geography, for example an emerging market like Eastern Europe, we have three or four of the local agencies compete to deliver the best advertising for a given situation. The benefit is to stimulate competition and get better insights and better production. The second advantage is that if a film works in one country, it may also work in its neighbor, so we reduce production costs."

This is the second major consolidation to benefit UM this year. In late April, L'Oreal consolidated its $700 million U.S. media-buying account with the agency.

In early August, MasterCard reported an increase in revenue of 7% to $1.4 billion for the second quarter of 2010 and an income of $458 million.

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