Initiative Loses U.S. Bayer Business in Global Consolidation

Interpublic Group Shop Will Be Replaced by Mediacom, Which Picks Up $300 Million Account After a Review

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WPP's MediaCom has nabbed the U.S. Bayer media business after a three-month-long review, according to executives familiar with the matter.

Mediacom replaces Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative , which had been handling the business in the U.S. The move effectively consolidates the massive global account within WPP's Group M, the umbrella unit under which Mediacom sits. In 2010, Bayer spent around $300 million on measured media in the U.S. and $800 million globally, according to the Ad Age Data Center.

Initiative and Mediacom referred calls for comment to Bayer, which did not immediately return a call for comment.

It's understood that Bayer's procurement team in Germany was involved in this review, which seemed to be part of an exercise to find efficiencies in its global agency relationships. It followed a global consolidation review in 2009. Group M won the planning and buying responsibilities outside the U.S while Initiative was able to hold onto U.S. planning and buying for Bayer's health-care and consumer-care divisions.

Prior to the pitch in 2009, the company had consolidated the two divisions within Initiative as part of a review for the health-care account. The incumbent on that piece of business years ago was WPP's MEC.

It means the loss of another sizable chunk of business for Initiative . It also lost the buying portion of the SC Johnson account earlier this year, after a global review that also struck a blow to its IPG partnerDraftFCB. The firm also lost the $700 million Home Depot account in January. Offsetting a fraction of the loss, it won the $150 millionHasbro media-buying and -planning business from MediaCom earlier this year, as well as USAA, LifeLock and Petco.

For MediaCom, it's one more step in the right direction after a tough year. It also marks the biggest win thus far for Harvey Goldhersz, the longtime MediaCom executive who replaced the firm's North American CEO Doug Checkeris in January.

MediaCom lost its more-than-$800 million Warner Bros account to Omnicom Media Group, as well as its massive $1.4 billion GlaxoSmithKline U.S. media account to Omnicom's PHD. It also lost Hasbro. That followed last year, when the agency said goodbye to a number of high-profile accounts, including Diageo ($130 million), Darden's Red Lobster planning business ($119 million), Ethan Allen ($23 million), JetBlue ($10 million), Lifetime Entertainment ($40 million) and the American Egg Board ($13 million).

But there are now signs of a bit of a turnaround, as over the past few months, the firm has brought on new accounts such as Universal Music Group and the U.S. Corp. for Travel Promotion. This month, it also expanded the $100 million U.S. Revlon account it picked up in 2010 globally.

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