Starcom wins P&G's $150m China media account

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HONG KONG--Procter & Gamble Co. has moved its media buying business in China to an unnamed joint venture recently established by Leo Burnett Co.'s media specialist arm Starcom and MediaVest, a division of the MacManus Group, following an intense four-way pitch.

Worth an estimated $150 million, it is considered the largest single media account in Asia outside Japan. The loss of such a major piece of business is a blow to incumbent Zenith Media, Hong Kong.

Starcom and MediaVest were invited to pitch separately in August when the packaged goods giant announced there would be a review in December. But Leo Burnett and D'Arcy presented together following their fall announcement to become part of the same global holding company with Dentsu.

P&G's decision to examine its China media business came as no surprise given that this was the first review since Saatchi & Saatchi was appointed agency-of-record eight years ago. The media account later moved to ZenithMedia, which is 100%-owned by Saatchi & Saatchi in China.

China's media environment has changed dramatically in the past decade and Saatchi is no longer the only P&G roster agency with a big operation in that market, as was the case eight years ago.

Along with the winners and Zenith, the pitch also included Grey Advertising's MediaCom and one non-roster agency, Omnicom Group of Cos.'s Optimum Media Direction.

Copyright December 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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