Near the outset of the review, Mr. Roberts bought Thompson Murray, the Fayetteville, Ark., shop that handles P&G's Wal-Mart Stores marketing, and combined it with Saatchi's existing retail marketing unit to form Saatchi & Saatchi X. According to one executive familiar with the matter, Saatchi X spent about $500,000 on the pitch, including retaining fashion consultant Donna Karan as a consultant. Saatchi X executives didn't return calls for comment.
The effort paid off, as Saatchi won one of the three pilot projects for P&G's health and beauty business, with Publicis sibling Frankel, Chicago, taking another and Omnicom Group's Integer Group, Denver, a third.
The review was an outgrowth of efforts by P&G to streamline its roster of 200 below-the-line shops, including 50 retail-marketing shops. But a P&G spokeswoman downplayed the impact of the new assignments, saying P&G brands in health and beauty or other businesses won't be forced to choose one of the shops.
Some other executives familiar with the process, however, believe many P&G brands ultimately will funnel their promotion work into one of the three shops.
Aside from P&G, several marketers, such as McDonald's Corp., have been moving to consolidate their in-store or co-op marketing assignments in recent years, said Mark McMullen, senior VP-director of business development of Integer. But while those moves, and retailer consolidation, mean fewer shops and assignments, they also mean bigger accounts, he said.