Activision Shifts $150 Million Media Business to OMD

Account Moved From Incumbent MEC Without a Review

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Gaming giant Activision Blizzard shifted its $150 million North America media business from WPP's MEC to Omnicom's OMD without a review, according to knowledgeable executives. Activision did not return calls requesting comment.

'Modern Warfare 3'
'Modern Warfare 3'

For OMD, Activision is a first win in the hot gaming category and includes traditional and digital planning and buying responsibilities. The firm, which got close to the business when it went up for bid in 2009, referred calls to the client. MEC won the Activision business during the 2009 review that involved OMD and incumbent MediaVest, among other agencies.

Activision is currently entrenched in buzz with the launch of "Modern Warfare 3," which is the company's next "Call of Duty" installment, as well as the launch of a less-welcome paid-subscription program.

According to Kantar Media, Activision Blizzard spent $74 million on measured media in 2010.

MEC's North America CEO, Lee Doyle, said: "We can confirm that MEC and Activision have mutually agreed to part ways in North America. MEC and Activision Blizzard remain partners in all other territories and we part ways in North America as friends."

MEC will continue to handle the business in Europe and Asia Pacific, he noted.

The Activision business is one of a few accounts that OMD has won from MEC without formal review, including Monster and Virgin Atlantic in late 2009. Ad Age also recently reported that the media portion of Novartis' more than $600 million advertising account, handled by MEC, went up for review in April. And MEC's six-year relationship with Toys R Us is currently on the rocks, as the $100 million-plus business went up for review this month.

Of the other losses and accounts up for review, Mr. Doyle would only comment on Toys R Us: "Over the last three years, we've felt fortunate that we haven't had to go through periodic review processes as much as our competitors. In the case of Toys R Us, they feel it's time. More and more companies are looking at the business that way." He added that the firm is growing some of its business organically but "big new business wins are fewer and farther between."

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