Microsoft Consolidates Direct-Marketing Biz With Wunderman

MRM to Handle Only Project Work in Cost-Cutting Move

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Microsoft has handed all of its global direct-marketing business to WPP's Wunderman as part of a roster consolidation that leaves former agency partner MRM handling only select project work.

Since 2004, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant had split its direct-marketing duties between Wunderman and MRM, part of Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Worldgroup, with Wunderman handling the lion's share of the work. Microsoft said the move, which was done without a review, was a cost-cutting effort.

"In an ongoing effort to identify business efficiencies and deliver shareholder value, Microsoft has chosen to move to one global agency of record for its relationship-marketing efforts," Gayle Troberman, general manager of advertising and customer engagement at Microsoft, said in an e-mail. "Effective July 1, Wunderman will serve as Microsoft's global agency of record for relationship marketing. This shift allows Microsoft to benefit from scalability, immediate and accelerated savings, and streamlined management of relationship-marketing campaigns. Our subsidiaries will continue to work with valued local and regional agencies, including MRM, for select local, project-based initiatives."

MRM declined to comment, and Wunderman referred calls to the marketer. Microsoft would not disclose billings.

Wunderman has handled direct marketing for Microsoft's Server & Tools division, MSN, Xbox, Windows Live, AdCenter and Windows Mobile. It also worked with Crispin Porter & Bogusky on consumer initiatives backing the Windows operating system and handled direct-marketing work for the launch of "Halo." Other Microsoft properties for which it will now manage direct-marketing efforts include Information Worker, the Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners division, Microsoft Dynamics, and the Microsoft Partner Program.

McCann was Microsoft's longtime lead creative shop, but in the past year, the marketer has moved the bulk of its creative duties to Crispin Porter & Bogusky and WPP's JWT, New York. Interpublic's Universal McCann is Microsoft's media agency, and independent agency Waggener Edstrom has been the company's longtime public-relations agency.

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