Kraft cuts trio of media partners from pitch for $800 mil account

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The media planning and buying consolidation craze took another turn with Kraft Foods' announcement that it would cut out three of its media partners in its estimated $800 million review.

Kraft's move is a rebuke to the unbundled media agencies, seemingly all the rage these days, as the food marketer chose only media shops coupled in some way with a creative shop.

Kraft's list now includes Starcom MediaVest, Chicago, which handles national TV buying and adult-targeted categories for Kraft, and is aligned with Kraft creative agency Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; MindShare, New York, which handles Kraft's radio planning and buying, and is linked to sibling Kraft creative shops Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, and J. Walter Thompson USA, New York; and TN Media, New York, which is pitching the business alongside sibling ad agency FCB Worldwide, New York.

Kraft dropped three media shops with no alliances with its creative agencies: Young & Rubicam's Media Edge, New York, which does print buying for Kraft; Lord Group, New York; and Grey Global Group's MediaCom, New York, which does almost $300 million in local broadcast buying and kids categories.

"These are all creative agency-aligned companies in the review," said Alex Gerster, chairman of MediaCom. "This is not related to our performance on the business."

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