Nestle moves Dutch media account to client-owned agency

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AMSTERDAM--Nestle has consolidated media buying previously shared by five media independents in the Netherlands. It has moved the $17.5 million account to Kobalt Media Services, a Dutch media specialist owned by five advertisers.

Kobalt, which has grown to become the second largest media specialist in the Netherlands, is owned by five Dutch companies: the bank ABN Amro, brewer Heineken and the retailers Ahold, KBB and Vendex. Nestle is not buying a stake in Kobalt, according to Ries Meijer, the agency's general manager

"For five agencies, we were a small client. For Kobalt, we are a big client. Getting an overview in the figures is easier with one agency than with five agencies with different methods of reporting. The media strategy will be more effective. We get more out of our investments and we get more control through Kobalt,'' says a Nestle spokesperson.

The five incumbents were Media Independent, Optimedia, The Media Partnership, Universal Media and Initiative Media.

Kobalt was founded 25 years ago by Ahold and Vendex. The three additional investors came on board around two years ago during a period of increased concentration of media ownership in the Netherlands.

Today, Kobalt handles $300 million in billings. Kobalt's owners account for 75% of its billings, with the balance made up by 30 clients, including Smith Food Group, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai.

Kobalt is based in Amstelveen, close to Amsterdam.

Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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