MINDSHARE WINS AMERICAN EXPRESS MEDIA ACCOUNT

Incumbent Beat out Initiative Media and Carat in Review

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Financial services behemoth American Express has retained WPP Group's MindShare to handle media buying and planning globally following a review, a spokeswoman for the company said.

The review was initiated late last year.

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Incumbent MindShare to Defend
MindShare, which was the incumbent, competed for the account against Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media and Aegis Group's Carat, which does media buying for American Express in the U.K.

The decision was made due to MindShare's combination of resources in multiple markets around the world, said Judy Tenzer, an American Express spokeswoman.

Alec Gerster, Initiative's CEO, said, "We took them to the wire. We really made these guys sweat bullets."

Ogilvy
Mindshare has had the business since 1998; prior to that, WPP's Ogilvy & Mather, the marketer's creative agency since 1962, handled media buying and planning.

The spokeswoman said today's decision does not affect the U.K. market, Japan or Italy, where the media is handled by local offices of Carat, Dentsu and Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia, respectively.

American Express spent $357 million in measured media in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

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Mercedes Cardona contributed to this report.

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