Y&R Loses Hilton Hotels to Cramer-Krasselt

Move Is Latest in a String of Account Losses for WPP Agency

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- WPP's Y&R has lost yet another account: Hilton Hotels. A spokesman for the marketer told Ad Age that Chicago-based independent Cramer-Krasselt has been named the new agency of record for the flagship hotel brand of Hilton Worldwide.

C-K representatives declined to comment on the matter, while Y&R representatives did not return requests for comment by press time.

The move came after a lengthy pitch, according to executives familiar with the matter. Ad Age last March reported that Hilton was reaching out to agencies beyond Y&R, which has handled the brand since 2005, for ideas on its flagship account. Joanne Davis Consulting managed the review process.

Hilton's marketing budget has stayed relatively stable in the past few years. It devotes nearly $50 million to domestic measured media, according to Kantar.

Hilton Hotels operates more than 500 hotels in 76 countries. The review does not include other brands owned by parent Hilton Worldwide, which include Doubletree, Conrad, Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, Hampton and Waldorf-Astoria.

The hotel chain's departure from the Y&R roster is just the latest in a growing string of losses for the agency's U.S. operations. It lost 7Up, the last piece it had of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group account, after a 40-year relationship when the beverage giant moved the brand to McGarryBowen without a review. And after 50 years of working with Y&R, MetLife moved its $65 million account to CP&B.

Two other key Y&R accounts, Accenture and Dell, are currently in review.