Chanel Invites Media Shops to Pitch Account Worth Over $100 Million

WPP's MEC Has Worked With Fashion House for At Least a Dozen Years

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In fashion, trends come and go. And so, too, can agencies.

Chanel has invited agencies to pitch its global media business, worth north of $100 million, industry executives told Ad Age.

Brad Pitt for Chanel No. 5
Brad Pitt for Chanel No. 5

WPP's MEC, which has worked with the company for more than a dozen years, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The privately held fashion company is meeting with agencies in February in Paris, and the review is expected to wrap up in May, according to a person familiar with the matter. Industry executives said that the scope encompasses a global assignment.

Chanel's comes on the heels of a strange push for Chanel No. 5 perfume that featured a campaign starring Brad Pitt. The campaign, which made its debut to harsh reviews late last year, was the first TV ad starring a man for the fragrance brand.

Print, however, is where the bulk of the company's ad dollars land. Chanel spent $112 million on measured media in the U.S. between January and November 2012, and thus far $71 million has gone to magazines. In 2011, it spent $130 million on total U.S. measured media. Magazines accounted for $85 million of that spend.

The fashion giant is just one of many companies launching a media-agency review; Walgreens and Bacardi have also just begun media pitches. It's one of two major fashion houses undertaking this process, as Burberry is also currently in the midst of a global review.

Chanel is owned by the Wertheimer brothers whose grandfather had close ties to the late founder and designer Coco Chanel. Ms. Chanel was known for being one of the first designers to introduce comfortable, simple and professional sportswear for women. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is the current creative director and head designer for the century-old Chanel brand.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Chanel's Brad Pitt ad was its first TV ad. It was the first TV ad for the brand in which a man was the central star.

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