STARCOM GETS $200 MILLION SARA LEE ACCOUNT

Media Buying and Planning of Seven Agencies Consolidated

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Sara Lee has consolidated its roughly $200 million media buying and planning account with Publicis Groupe's Starcom USA, a unit of Starcom MediaVest Group,
Chicago, without a review, the marketer said.

Brands handled
Starcom was one of seven agencies handling the company's various food, apparel, beverage and household products brands. Starcom previously handled Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee, Ball Park, Barely There and Playtex brands.

Among the agencies that lost business are

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Publicis' Optimedia, Dallas; Omnicom Group's OMD, Chicago; Havas' MPG, Chicago; and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., and Mullen, Winston-Salem, N.C. Independent agency Shahid & Co., New York, also lost business.

Sara Lee spent $208 million in measured media in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

New marketing chief
The move comes as part of a mandate by Lee Chaden, whom Sara Lee named in April as the company's first head of global marketing and sales, to take a more centralized approach to marketing.

By consolidating with one agency, the company can "establish a consistent approach to understanding consumer media behavior, which will drive smarter, more effective long-term planning and media investment decisions," Mr. Chaden said.

Among the brands Starcom won are Sara Lee's two biggest spenders, Hanes (against which Sara Lee spent $50 million in media in 2002) and Hillshire Farm ($19 million spent in 2002), according to CMR.