UM Poised to Snag $700 Million L'Oreal Account

Interpublic Shop to Take on U.S. Buying Business Formerly Split With Zenith

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The cosmetic giant's L'Oreal Paris brand is its largest division.
The cosmetic giant's L'Oreal Paris brand is its largest division.
NEW YORK ( -- L'Oreal has consolidated its $700 million U.S. media buying account with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann, executives with knowledge of the matter said. The cosmetics behemoth launched an "evaluation" of the account, which was previously handled by UM and Publicis Groupe's Zenith, back in late March.

UM was also awarded Burberry's international media planning and buying business yesterday. The shop seems to be having little trouble maintaining the new-business success it began last year when it snagged Chrysler, BMW, Applebee's, Charles Schwab and Dyson, among other accounts.

L'Oreal's brand lineup includes L'Oreal Paris (its largest division), Maybelline, Lancome and Garnier. Last week L'Oreal reported sales of $6.2 billion for the first quarter of 2010, an increase of 8% over the first quarter of 2009.

Planning, which was not affected by this review, is handled by Publicis' Optimedia for L'Oreal's luxury products and Maybelline New York line, and by UM for the L'Oreal Paris line.

While the media consolidation at UM is a coup for Interpublic and McCann Worldgroup overall, there remain questions over the strength of the relationship on the advertising portion of L'Oreal's massive account. The cosmetics maker, which represents one of McCann's longest and most lucrative relationships, is, said to be eying agencies housed under rival holding companies.

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