MindShare, Starcom MediaVest Only Two to Pitch for Accounts

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NEW YORK ( -- Kraft Foods is reviewing media buying in three parts of Europe in an effort to consolidate most of its media business globally with WPP Group's MindShare and Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest.

A Kraft spokesman in London said the reviews will take place in the U.K., where Publicis' Zenith Optimedia is the incumbent; in Spain and Portugal, currently handled by Aegis Group's Carat; and Scandinavia, handled by Omnicom Group's OMD. Only MindShare and Starcom MediaVest will pitch, he said.

Three reviews
The pitches will be conducted as three separate reviews rather than as a winner-take-all contest. The spokesman declined to disclose budget figures.

"We need to look at how we're leveraging relationships across the globe but also [be aware of the concerns of] local markets," he said. "We need to move toward fewer agencies where we can."

Most of Kraft's media business is already at either MindShare or Starcom. The marketer awarded the biggest portion, the U.S. account worth $800 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, to Starcom three years ago. Starcom also handles Canada and most of Latin America except Brazil, where media specialist agencies are banned. MindShare already has Kraft's media business in a number of European markets, including Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, and most of Asia, the spokesman said.

Other markets
A few markets are being allowed to keep other media shops. No review is scheduled for France, for instance, where Carat is the incumbent, he said.

He said a decision is expected by June.

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