P&G consolidates TV buying at TeleVest

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In the biggest media assignment ever, Procter & Gamble Co. consolidated its $1.2 billion TV buying account at McManus Group's TeleVest, New York. Effective with the 1998-99 broadcast year, TeleVest will handle all of P&G's tactical TV planning and buying.

Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, finished a close second in the review, said executives close to the process. Other participants were Grey Advertising and Zenith Media, both New York. Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, which handled about a third of P&G's spot TV, didn't participate.

"This was one of the most difficult AOR choices we've ever made," said Robert J. Wehling, P&G senior VP in charge of advertising, in a statement.

Daryl Sim, P&G's VP-media and programming, said the consolidation "will give P&G flexibility in TV media tactical planning and buying ... "

TeleVest handled most of P&G's media billings before the review and had been considered the frontrunner for the assignment.

While TeleVest referred all calls to P&G, media executives at the other agencies in the review said TeleVest was likely selected for three reasons.

First, it is known for expertise in computer management systems. A factor in the review was the implementation of media optimizer programs to increase the efficiency of P&G's buys. Second, it has strong relationships with P&G executives

Third, during the review process it decided to hook up with Wells BDDP, New York, primarily for the cable planning and buying portion of the account. "If TeleVest had a perceived weakness, it might have been in cable buying. But they laid that to rest by teaming up with Wells," said a competitor in the review. Furthermore, TeleVest recently took over the TV spot buying chores from sister company D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, making it clear it was a player in that arena as well.

Before the P&G assignment TeleVest was claiming billings of $1.8 billion in national TV buying and $300 million in local TV buying.

Donna Salvatore, TeleVest's exec VP-director of strategic planning, media buying services, has been shepherding the P&G account, and she is expected to continue in that role.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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