Toys R Us Selects OMD to Handle Media, Digital Duties

Marks the Loss of Another Account for WPP's MEC

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Toys R Us has selected Omnicom's OMD to handle media buying and planning, as well as various digital tasks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Toys R Us has a marketing budget of more than $100 million. http://adage.com/article/agency-news/toys-r-conducts-media-agency-review/227622/ The selection follows a seven-month review. WPP's MEC, which has worked with the retailer for six years, failed to retain the business, though it was involved in the process until the late stages. Another competitor in the final stretch was Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann, a partner to Geomentum, which has worked with Toys R Us on hyperlocal media.

Both MEC and OMD referred calls to the client, and Toys R Us did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

It's understood that media agencies had the opportunity to pitch for the traditional planning and buying business while also presenting digital capabilities. The scope for the digital portion is display, search analytics, and mobile and social media, among other responsibilities. During the review, the company also invited digital shops to compete for the digital portion only, according to industry executives.

Toys R Us has worked on other digital and marketing initiatives with e-commerce technology and marketing services company GSI, which eBay bought for $2.4 billion. Toys R Us' e-commerce platforms include ToysRUs.com, BabiesRUs.com, eToys.com, BabyUniverse.com and FAO.com.

The loss means MEC bids goodbye to another large account. Most recently, Sony Ericsson reviewed its global business and selected Omnicom's PHD over incumbent MEC. And within the past six months, Activision shifted its business from MEC to Omnicom's OMD; the firm parted ways with Pizza Hut, which landed at Publicis' Optimedia; and its massive Novartis account has been in review for months.

Amid the turmoil, Marla Kaplowitz replaced Lee Doyle as North America CEO last month. The firm recently broke its losing streak by winning the global consolidated Marriott business.

Toys R Us doesn't appear to have a lead creative shop. It parted ways with Hill Holliday in 2008 and took its creative business in-house. http://adage.com/article/agency-news/toys-r-parts-hill-holliday/127432/

The retailer spent $112.6 million on measured media last year, up from $94.4 million in 2009, according to Kantar Media. It has made changes to its management structure recently, including hiring Mattel veteran Neil Friedman as president.

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