LG Reviewing Media Duties in U.S. and Certain Global Markets

Procurement is Leading Pitch for Consumer Electronics and Appliance Maker

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Consumer electronics and appliance maker LG is reviewing its media agency partnerships in the U.S. and in other global regions, according to multiple industry executives.

In 2011, the last full year of data, the company spent nearly $400 million on measured media around the world, and it was ranked 83th on a Kantar Media list of the top 100 spenders. According to one industry executive, the media agency pitch is being driven by LG's procurement department. In 2011, total measured media spending dropped 17%. U.S. spending dropped 22.5% to $71.5 million, while spending outside the U.S. fell 16% to $326.1 million.

Ad Age back in 2007 reported that LG appointed its first CMO, Dermot Boden. At the time, the company hired WPP's Mindshare to support media, WPP's Y&R to work on marketing strategy in local markets and Publicis Groupe's BBH to run creative for the global LG brand and product business. Mr. Boden left in November 2009 and the company promoted Simon Kang, previously head of LG's home-entertainment business unit, to take on the CMO role. BBH and LG split a couple of years later, shortly after the Korean marketer began working with the shop on only a project-by-project basis. APCO's StrawberryFrog took over creative duties on the account. In 2011, the company brought on a new CEO to boost the lagging but crucial mobile category. And more recently it promoted K.W. Kim, who was previously president of Middle East and Africa for LG Electronics, to lead global marketing.

Its unclear if Mr. Kang has appointed any other agencies to the roster since taking on the role. LG and Mindshare didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Y&R is understood to be continuing its work with LG in local markets.

LG has said that it plans on boosting its investment in its electronics business this year by nearly a third to $12.6 billion, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The investment comes as the company faces global heightened competition from not only Samsung and Apple, but also Chinese mobile tech giants Huawei and ZTE. As of January 2012, LG was the second-biggest phone manufacturer in the U.S., after Samsung. But in Q4 2012, the company took third place behind Apple and Samsung, and it also fell behind the manufacturers for the full year, according to a TechCrunch report citing Strategy Analytics.

According to a number of reports, LG recently halted production of the Nexus 4 line of smartphones, and is expected to release a new mobile phone. The company has just begun using Facebook to tease a new product series, describing it as a "surprise...with an unexpected distinction."

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