One Roster Shop to Win Consolidated Account

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NEW YORK ( -- Mars' Masterfoods USA is conducting a review of its estimated $300 million media buying and planning business in the U.S. with a view toward consolidating it at one of its roster shops.

A spokeswoman for Masterfoods USA said the review is beginning immediately and is expected to conclude by mid-December.

Single agency sought
"We are looking for a single agency for media buying and planning responsibilities for all of our businesses, including snacks, food and pet care," she said. "Our goal is to increase the effectiveness of our media investment."

Masterfoods spent $324 million in 2002 on measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Its key brands include Snickers, M&Ms, Twix and Starburst candies, Pedigree and Whiskas pet food and Uncle Ben's rice and prepared meals.

According to executives with knowledge of the review, the following roster shops are participating: Omnicom Group's OMD, Grey Global Group's MediaCom, Publicis Groupe's MediaVest and WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, which will likely pitch the business through its parent, Group M.

Roster shop duties
Mediaedge:cia is the agency of record for Masterfoods' print-buying business. MediaCom handles all of the marketer's U.S. out-of-home media. MediaVest, which is part of the Starcom MediaVest Group, handles all of Masterfoods' broadcast media-buying business. Publicis' Zenith Optimedia handles Masterfoods' sports buying, which is part of the review, though executives with knowledge of the review told that the shop would not be pitching for the business. OMD does media planning for confections, Uncle Ben's, Whiskas and Seeds of Change.

Executives at Group M, MediaVest and MediaCom referred calls to Masterfoods. Calls to OMD and Zenith were not returned at press time.