General Electric Selects OMD and MEC in Global Media Agency Shakeup

Omnicom Retains U.S. Business, Loses International Work

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An Instagram post from the General Electric account
An Instagram post from the General Electric account

General Electric has retained Omnicom's OMD in the U.S. and hired WPP's MEC to support its media buying and planning in all international markets, as well as worldwide search.

OMD was the global media incumbent on the business in every market except for China and Vietnam, so it's losing a portion of its international GE work. The Omnicom shop has worked with the company for more than a decade. Publicis Groupe's Starcom had handled media buying in the two Asian markets, as well as the worldwide search business that now moves to MEC. MediaLink supported the search.

It's a boost for MEC, which has had a tough couple of years on the new business front, especially in North America. The firm recently hired Carl Fremont in the newly-created role of global chief digital officer.

GE was expected to make a decision earlier this week, around the same time that news broke of an Omnicom-Publicis merger. GE has worked with Omnicom shops for just under a century. It's unclear if the merger news had any bearing on the company's decision.

None of the companies mentioned in this article were immediately available to comment.

The move follows a significant ramp up in marketing spend in the U.S. In 2012, it spent $193.2 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media, up from the $130 million it spent in 2011.

The global media business, which includes U.S. and international media, as well as search, is understood to be more than $200 million.

GE's marketing spending pales in comparison to its size and share in the many categories in which it operates, such as technology, energy, healthcare, appliances and aviation. It ranked No. 8 on this year's Fortune 500 list.

The company has worked with OMD sibling BBDO since 1920. It also works with a handful of shops on creative, PR and digital.

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