Saatchi pulls out of P&G's Canadian media pitch

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TORONTO -- Competition for Procter and Gamble's $50m TV buying assignment, the largest account in Canadian history, is down to three agencies after Saatchi & Saatchi bowed out of the review.

Still in the running are Bensimon*Byrne/DMB&B, Leo Burnett and Grey Canada, all incumbent P&G agencies, as was Saatchi. Only Leo Burnett and Bensimon*Byrne/DMB&B handle P&G's TV, however. All the competing agencies are Toronto-based.

Saatchi officials are tight-lipped, refusing to reveal why the agency pulled out of the pitch.

The winner is expected to be announced in December, just one month before P&G in the U.S. is scheduled to announce the new agency for its $1.2bn TV buying account. But some observers believe P&G in Canada may wait for the U.S. decision and follow its lead, to consolidate its TV buying arrangements across North America.

In the U.S., the nine agencies pitching include DMB&B, Leo Burnett, Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi.

P&G Canada spokeswoman Janice Mandel said at the announcement of the pitch that the move to consolidate the account was not a reflection of the incumbents' handling of the business but rather the company's desire to follow in the footsteps of its U.S. parent in consolidating media buying.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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