The consumer packaged-goods giant made the decision not to review its buying account in the region as it continues its market-by -market evaluations. It is , however, close to a decision on its global media-planning review, which it began this January, according to executives familiar with the matter.
Unilever declined to comment for this story. At the beginning of the review, Senior VP-Global Media Luis Di Como said, "We want to make sure that we continue to have best-in-class agency partners to deliver Unilever's vision: to double the size of our business while reducing our environmental impact. We will be looking at strategic planning and in-market execution capabilities from our agency partners."
The company's U.S. ad spending in 2010 was $1.38 billion, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.
The company invited its worldwide incumbents, including Mindshare (North America and Western Europe); Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative (Latin America); and Omnicom's PHD (China, Central Europe); among other agencies to pitch for the global-planning business. It's understood that the company also asked some agencies to provide materials for its U.S. evaluation.
The U.S. retention is a boon for Mindshare and its relatively new CEO in the region, Antony Young. The move also shows consistency. Unilever's decision to retain the firm comes only two years after its last media review. At the time, Mindshare held onto its business in the region and the global assignments were left mostly unchanged.
It's not immediately clear whether the timing of the network TV upfront inspired the company's latest decision to retain its incumbent. Regardless, the decision likely dissolves any tension that a review might have caused throughout the annual negotiations this summer.
MediaLink is said to be assisting with the ongoing global review.