Reckitt Benckiser Launches Review of $1.8 Billion Global Media Account

First Big Review Since Omnicom Publicis Deal Follows Appointment of Global Media Chief

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Reckitt Benckiser has launched a review of its $1.8 billion global media account, the company said in a statement, less than three months after Unilever veteran Richard Davies was named director of global media.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies

The move comes four years after the company's last global media review, which tapped Publicis Groupe's Zenith and Havas Media Group after a pitch that also included participants from WPP and Omnicom. RB expects the process to be completed by year end and take effect Jan. 1. Zenith handles RB media in the U.S. The review doesn't affect creative assignments, led by Havas globally.

RB's review is likely to be particularly closely watched as it's the first to come after Publicis, whose Zenith unit holds a big chunk of the account, announced plans to merge with Omnicom earlier this week.

Conflict, however, is unlikely to be an issue, since RB already worked with rival Procter & Gamble Co. within Publicis Groupe's media agencies. But the RB review could test the theory that the combination will provide added clout and efficiencies for clients.

RB's North American Communications Director Tony Brand said in an e-mail statement that, "As due diligence, RB periodically reviews its media services to ensure it gets the best service capabilities and value for money. This process will allow us to do that. Havas and Publicis have shared the majority of our business across global markets since 2009. This is not a comment on the quality of the relationship or service."

Mr. Brand added that the incumbents are "able and encouraged to participate," saying "we will consider all options available."

Mr. Davies, who will be leading the review, is a veteran of WPP's Mindshare and Interpublic's Initiative, but was most recently a media executive with Unilever.

The company reported it spent 12.7% of its $14.5 billion in sales last year on "brand equity investment," a more inclusive measure of media spending that also incorporates such things as the costs of creating owned and earned media.

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