MediaVest Emerges Winner in Cox Communications Review

Publicis Groupe Shop Replaces Array of Local Firms

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In an effort to consolidate its local media operations, cable TV and wireless provider Cox Communications has selected Publicis Groupe 's MediaVest as its new agency of record.

The decision follows a two-month review for the account -- which sees an estimated $75 million to $100 million in measured media spending. The pitch was led by Cox's marketing and supply-chain teams, while Boston-based search firm Pile & Co. helped guide the process.

MediaVest will replace a range of smaller shops that handled media-buying and planning duties across Cox's key 18 markets, which include cities in California, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia and Arizona, among others.

Explained the company said in a statement: "Prior to this decision, Cox's planning and buying process was regionalized, with multiple approaches from headquarters and each field location. MediaVest will serve as the single planning and buying agency, meeting the needs of each region with a consistent, national strategy."

Mark Greatrex
Mark Greatrex

Cox Communications represents the largest group within Cox Enterprises, which owns automotive auction company Manheim, AutoTrader.com and Cox Media. Cox Enterprises spent $151 million on measured media in 2010, according to Kantar.

"This is an important step towards making us more competitive in the marketplace," Mark Greatrex, senior VP and CMO at Cox, said in a statement. "Cox is focused on establishing a marketing structure that enables stronger integration of our marketing plans, greater marketing innovation and scale and enhanced media performance."

The scope of work includes media, residential services and traditional and new media. The firm will also assist the company with planning for owned media resources, such as cable TV advertising, through Cox Media.

Interestingly, for MediaVest, it means another account in the same space. The agency also recently retained its Comcast account. People familiar with the Cox review said the accounts are not deemed as conflicts because Comcast and Cox operate in different regions.

Cox seems to be focused on consolidating all of its marketing relationships with fewer partners. Separately, the company is conducting a search for a single, national direct and digital marketing agency. That pitch is expected to wrap up early next year. Similar to the media review, Pile & Co. is working with Cox's supply chain organization to manage the search.

Southfield, Mich.-based indie shop Doner has handled the company's creative for 10 years, and the reviews are not expected to affect that relationship, the company said.

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