Best Buy Consolidates Media Account Under Starcom

$300 Million Business Was Previously Split With Crispin Porter

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NEW YORK ( -- Best Buy has consolidated its nearly $300 million media-planning and -buying account with Publicis Groupe's Starcom. The account was previously split, with Starcom managing buying while media planning was run by Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

In an e-mail, Lisa Svac Hawks, Best Buy's director of PR, said: "We regularly review all of our agency relationships and activities. In an effort to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our media investments, we recently made a decision to move our media planning and buying to Starcom, in an integrated partnership with Razorfish and Tapestry under the Publicis umbrella. In addition, this move supports Best Buy's objective to drive an integrated marketing model."

Razorfish handles the retailer's digital media planning and buying, while Tapestry has the multicultural media-planning and -buying business.

The retailer began using a new marketing-mix model over the summer, in an effort to make its media spend more effective. "[The model] said, overall, the mix was off. It said if we shift dollars away from inserts to TV, we would generate a pretty good lift in revenue and related profits," Drew Panayiotou, senior VP-U.S. marketing, told Ad Age in September. "When you have big budgets like we do, a 5% to 10% improvement is a big deal."

Best Buy began shifting more money into TV this fall. It has declined to give exact figures, but it's increased its spending in the medium by a low double-digit percentage. In 2009, it spent $150 million on TV advertising, according to Kantar; network TV ads accounted for $65 million of that figure.

The electronics giant also fine-tuned its insert strategy, trimming distribution in parts of the country where newspaper readership has suffered, and upping its investment in search and display advertising. The changes have taken place under Mr. Panayiotou, who joined Best Buy from Walt Disney Co. in January.

Crispin is Best Buy's creative agency of record and it appears that this consolidation has not affected that business. For Crispin to lose this piece of Best Buy is particularly surprising since Best Buy's Twelpforce won the Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes this year for the best use of social media marketing.

The loss for Crispin comes on the heels of two big wins for the agency in the past week, U.S. creative and media-planning duties for Metlife and global creative duties for Cadbury's Milka brand.

Earlier this week Starcom won Darden Restaurant's Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse media accounts, also totaling $300 million.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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