ExxonMobil units review $100 million media acc't

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ExxonMobil Corp.'s Fuels Marketing Co. and Lubes Marketing Co. divisions are seeking to consolidate their combined $100 million, global media buying account.

The marketer is considering bids from Aegis Group's Carat; Omnicom Group's Optimum Media Direction; Bcom3 Group's Starcom MediaVest; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann; and Zenith Media. A spokeswoman at ExxonMobil said a decision is not expected for several weeks, with the contract to take effect for buying in calendar year 2001.


According to the spokeswoman, buying duties for the products are currently scattered among a wide range of agencies around the world. ExxonMobil may settle on more than one agency to handle the business, said the spokeswoman, in which case the account would be divided by regions.

Executives close to the review described ExxonMobil's request for proposals as a lengthy document. One executive said it is "as thick as Al Gore's campaign book," referring to the Vice President's recently issued 191-page economic plan.

This summer, ExxonMobil Corp. tapped DDB Worldwide, New York, to handle creative for its $100 million global fuels account. DDB also created the branding campaign that introduced the new company after the Exxon Corp./Mobil Corp. merger was approved in November 1999.

Although Exxon was the larger of the two companies, it was Mobil's agency that won the bulk of the creative branding assignments, including Exxon's Esso business outside of the U.S.

DDB has handled Mobil since 1949. McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Houston, has handled Exxon since 1912. McCann still handles the lubricants business.

Mobil has long branded itself with a slashed zero and a Pegasus, while the well-known Exxon icon is a tiger.

According to Fortune magazine, ExxonMobil's U.S. sales were approximately $163 billion for 1999; it spent approximately $60 million on advertising, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

BP Amoco, which merged last year, had domestic sales of almost $84 billion, according to the company, and spent almost $20 million on advertising. Last year, BP Amoco also consolidated its advertising at Ogilvy & Mather, New York, forecasting a future ad budget of $200 million. This year, Ogilvy launched a campaign that drops Amoco from the company title and plays with the remaining acronym in the slogan "Beyond petroleum."

Contributing: Jean Halliday

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