DIAGEO OPENS $85 MIL MEDIA REVIEW: UNITED DISTILLERS & VINTNERS UNIT AIMS TO CONSOLIDATE BUYING, PLANNING

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United Distillers & Vintners North America, a unit of Diageo, has thrown into review the outdoor and print buying and planning portion of its $85 million U.S. wine and spirits account.

Vying for the business are incumbents Leo Burnett Co.'s Starcom Media Services, Chicago; and Y&R Advertising and J. Walter Thompson USA, New York.

The review is expected to be completed by the end of October.

Diageo, created last year by the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan, wants to consolidate to sharpen focus and increase buying clout.

STRATEGIC PARTNER

"We're looking for a strategic partner," said Carol Dores, VP-marketing services for UDV.

Diageo Chairman George Bull signaled last year it would consolidate media (AA, Dec. 22).

UDV is seeking an agency that can blend national with local media planning and buying strategies, Ms. Dores said.

Earlier this year, UDV moved to a decentralized U.S. organizational structure consisting of a headquarters with four regional offices to oversee local efforts.

Case studies will be an important part of the review, Ms. Dores said.

Y&R handled spirits media and JWT had wine media buying and creative for GrandMet; Starcom handled spirits media buying for Guinness.

Y&R, which won its assignment last year, is the major incumbent with about $50 million in billings. Starcom handles most of the remainder.

Dave Braun, the former top media executive for Kraft Foods, is a consultant for the review.

Contributing: Chuck Ross.

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