LG Set to Hire BBH for $350 Million Global Creative Biz

Electronics Giant Also Seeking First Ever Global Media Agency

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- LG Electronics looks likely to appoint Bartle Bogle Hegarty for its $350 million global brand and product ad account, but there are still issues to be resolved that are delaying a formal decision originally expected in October.

Other agencies could also benefit. It's unclear whether LG would entrust execution of the global account to London-based BBH, or will look at pairing the agency, which has only six offices worldwide, with another network that would serve as the delivery system. The other contenders in the review are Publicis Worldwide, owned by Publicis Groupe which also has a 49% stake in BBH; and Omnicom Group's TBWA and DDB Worldwide. Saatchi & Saatchi was involved at an earlier stage but had a conflict with its Sony Ericsson business. Combining two networks to marry creative with global coverage is an increasingly common practice among global marketers; Nokia, for example recently appointed Wieden & Kennedy to a core creative assignment and hired JWT for global execution.

Other Ongoing Reviews
There appear to be two other LG global reviews going on as well, to pick LG's first worldwide media agency network and first global digital marketing partner. In early 2007, Sung-Hun Han, a former Procter & Gamble exec who is LG Electronics' Seoul-based global head of brand marketing, took on a more international role that includes a move toward looking at agency relationships on a more global basis, rather than the local and regional assignments that have been more common at LG. He had previously focused on marketing for South Korea.

The global brand and products business for which BBH is now the frontrunner includes LG Electronics' four core divisions. They are mobile communications, digital display (flat-panel TVs and monitors), digital media (computers and peripherals, audio equipment and video players) and digital appliances (air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators).

Approached for comment, LG would only say that no final decision has been made. Executives from BBH, DDB and Publicis could not be reached.

Fresh Ad Approach
The agencies in the review have little or no previous LG business, indicating a desire by the company to take a fresh look at advertising. In a separate assignment, LG earlier this year awarded a global project for the company's digital-display business, called the Digital Display Co., to a team composed of Agency.com and TBWA.

For Bartle Bogle, an LG win would cap a year that has already seen the agency network grow worldwide income by 16% to $174 million from $150 million in 2006.
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