Paper weight: Zenith wins $75 mil

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Georgia-Pacific Corp., the world's largest marketer of bath tissue and paper towels, will consolidate its $75 million media buying business at Publicis Groupe's Zenith Media, New York, according to executives familiar with the matter. An announcement is expected this week.

The business was put into review shortly after Georgia-Pacific late last year completed its purchase of Fort James Corp., whose media buying and planning was handled by WPP Group's The Media Edge, New York. Georgia-Pacific's buying and planning were handled by Publicis sibling Fallon Worldwide, New York, which retains planning duties and continues as creative agency for Atlanta-based Georgia Pacific. The status of the media planning duties for Fort James products has not been determined.

Fallon did not participate in the media review, resulting in a shootout between nonroster shop Zenith and The Media Edge.

Omnicom Group's DDB Wordwide, New York, continues its creative assignments for Fort James' products including Quilted Northern, Brawny and Dixie brand disposable plates and cups. Three years ago, Fort James moved its media account from DDB to The Media Edge after a review.

The Georgia-Pacific win comes on the heels of Zenith's win of Schering-Plough Corp.'s $150 million media planning and buying assignment for Claritin and Nasonex, moved last week by the marketer from the media department of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, without a review (Adage.com, March 22). With Georgia-Pacific, Zenith's haul climbs to $250 million.

Zenith declined to comment on the Georgia Pacific review.

Georgia-Pacific became the largest manufacturer in paper towels, bath tissues and paper napkins in the U.S. and Europe following its December acquisition of Fort James. Combined revenues for the companies exceeded $24.8 billion last year.

Procter & Gamble Co.'s Charmin and Bounty are leading brands in bath tissue and paper towels in the U.S., but Georgia-Pacific's roster of No. 2, 3 and 4 tissue and paper towels brands combined gives it the overall lead. From January through September 2000, Quilted Northern spent $11 million in advertising, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Dixie spent $1.6 million and Brawny spent nothing (after spending $17 million in 1999).

Georgia-Pacific did not return phone calls for comment by press time.

The 74-year-old Georgia-Pacific has steadily transformed itself from a domestic building products company to a global manufacturer and distributor of paper and building products. Along with the Fort James acquisition, Georgia-Pacific acquired Unisource Worldwide in 1999, North America's largest distributor of office and printing papers, packaging and maintenance supplies.

Last month, the company launched a corporate campaign from Fallon which focuses on its change from a stuffy business-to-business forest product manufacturer to one more in touch with the times. A humorous print ad features an image of businessmen planted like trees in the ground. The ad copy reads: "All Those Forest Products Companies That Think Progress is a Good Thing, Please Step Forward."

Contributing: Jack Neff and Kate MacArthur

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