Philips Calls Global Media Buying, Strategy Review

Carat to Defend; 'Simplicity' Effort Didn't Translate

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Philips Electronics, which has been lauded for its unusual "simplicity" approach to media in the U.S., is putting into review its global account for media strategy and buying, believing the effort does not translate well into other markets.
Philips' offbeat 'Sense and Simplicity' media-buying effort was hailed in the U.S. for its innovative techniques -- but those methods didn't translate well in other parts of the world.
Philips' offbeat 'Sense and Simplicity' media-buying effort was hailed in the U.S. for its innovative techniques -- but those methods didn't translate well in other parts of the world.

Although a global figure wasn't available, Philips spends $100 million in the U.S. alone.

New shop by April
The incumbent agency, Aegis Group's Carat, has been invited to participate. The review is expected to be conducted over the next six months with a new shop in place by April 2007. Two or three additional unnamed agencies will be invited into the process, the company said, although it did not name them. A Carat spokeswoman said the agency will defend the acccount.

"The pace of change we have seen within the global media environment requires us to continuously challenge the way we deliver our brand promise of 'Sense and Simplicity' to our customers and consumers through the media they consume," Geert van Kuyck, senior VP-global marketing management, said in a statement. "While we have made important steps forward in this area over the past year, we also believe that fundamental to this challenge is the way clients and agencies collaborate effectively in this new environment."

Lost in translation
While Philips was happy with some of Carat's U.S. media-buying efforts, the electronics marketer found that ideas that worked in the U.S. did not translate to the global marketplace, according to an executive familiar with the situation. "A lot of the ideas were not able to be exploited on a global level," the executive said.

Philips' global campaign centered on the theme of "Sense and Simplicity," a theme carried through in the media realm with highly creative media-buying efforts. For example, Philips last October bought all time slots on one CBS "60 Minutes program" only to give back 12 minutes of time so viewers could enjoy longer segments and fewer commercial breaks.

Another buy involved four Hearst Magazine titles that were shipped without those annoying subscription cards. One project that fell flat was an attempt to buy all the cinema ads prior to a movie to spare patrons pre-film pitches.

U.S. brand recognition
Philips, though well-known in Europe, wants to expand brand recognition in the U.S. Unaided awareness of the brand in Europe is 99%, but less than 10% in the U.S., although that number has about doubled in one year.

Philips' most familiar U.S. products include Sonicare toothbrushes and Norelco grooming products.

Philips creative remains at Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide and is unaffected by the review.
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