Blackrock Puts Media Agency Business into Review

Ad and Marketing Spending Has Been on the Rise

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Financial services giant Blackrock has begun a global media agency review, according to people familiar with the matter.

MEC has handled the account for the past five years, since Blackrock acquired a company, iShares, with which MEC had been working. Accenture is supporting the search.

The review shouldn't affect WPP's Ogilvy, which handles the company's creative business.

Blackrock spent $67 million in U.S. measured media in 2013, up 9.7% from $61 million in 2012 according to Kantar Media. Going forward, the global budget will be about $90 million, according to people familiar with the matter. It's a sizeable account for a financial services giant and one for which a number of shops will compete. Among the shops invited are WPP's Mindshare and MEC, as well as Omnicom's PHD and Dentsu's Carat.

Since Linda Robinson joined Blackrock to run global marketing in 2011 -- she was previously chairman at WPP D.C. crisis shop RLM -- marketing and promotional expenses have increased year-over-year, according to the company's 10-K. In 2013, Blackrock spent $409 million on marketing and promotions, up from $384 million in 2012 and $315 million in 2011.

The company attributes the spike from 2011 to 2012 to "higher marketing and promotional expenses in connection with the brand campaign," but doesn't specify what was responsible for the increase from 2012 to 2013.

The company kicked off its global "Investing for a New World" campaign in 2012 with full-page ads in the Financial Times. It was the first time the fund manager had pursued a global multimedia campaign, the FT reported at the time.

Last month the company named American Express' Scott Roen as managing director and head of digital marketing.

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