MEC Wins Planning Duties for L'Oreal's Lancome and Luxury Fragrances

Lancome, a Top-Three Spender in L'Oreal Portfolio, Spent $130 Million on U.S. Measured Media in 2013

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WPP's MEC has inched its way onto the L'Oreal agency roster with the addition of work from cosmetics brand Lancome and various fragrances.

MEC won the U.S. planning business after a review that pitted the shop against sibling agency Maxus, incumbent Optimedia and independent agencies Point One Percent and Mediastorm, according to people familiar with the matter.

"It is both incredibly gratifying and encouraging to be selected to lead these prestigious brands through the seismic shift that digital and data is having on their businesses," said Marla Kaplowitz, CEO, MEC North America. "Marketers continue to be challenged with keeping pace with the varying demands and expectations of consumers. This is even more difficult in the luxury category."

Lancome, which spent $130 million on U.S. measured media in 2013, is the top-four spender within L'Oreal's portfolio of brands, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

Optimedia, a Publicis Groupe agency, will continue to support planning for L'Oreal top spenders Garnier and Maybelline.

Optimedia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. L'Oreal also didn't respond to requests for comment.

Among L'Oreal's other media agency partners are Interpublic's UM, which supports TV and print planning, and Publicis' Digitas. L'Oreal in November 2013 moved its U.S. digital media buying account for various brands from Moxie to sibling DigitasLBi. Moxie, a shop that operates within Publicis' ZenithOptimedia network of media agencies, had handled the work for three years.

For MEC, Lancome is a big win on the back of the shop's Tiffany's win this fall. Beyond the new business momentum, the wins put the shop in a position to carve out a luxury niche.

This May, the company moved Marie Gulin to CMO of L'Oreal U.S.A. from global head of integrated marketing communications for the L'Oreal Paris brand. In the U.S. CMO function, Ms. Gulin took over for Global CMO Marc Speichert, who left in May 2014 for a job in Google's client-and-agency-solutions division.

Lancome is also getting aggressive on the technology front. The brand recently partnered with Sight Commerce to launch an e-commerce tool called Infinite that shows shoppers how each cosmetic product looks on a model with a similar skin tone.