P&G Shakes up Interactive Ad Agency Roster

Seven Shops Make the Cut, Including Omnicom's Critical Mass

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co. has shaken up its interactive agency roster, adding some new shops, dropping some old ones and formally recognizing at least one that had picked up one of P&G’s biggest interactive accounts without formal roster status.
The marketing department at Procter & Gamble headquarters in Cincinnati has realigned the marketer's roster of interactive advertising agencies.

Seven agencies
The realignment is the first formal reworking of P&G’s interactive roster since 2002, when the company trimmed a list of 40 down to nine. Several shops have fallen by the wayside since then, but the new realignment sets the number at seven.

Cut from the 2002 roster are WhittmanHart Interactive, Chicago; WPP Group’s Grey Interactive, New York; and Omnicom Group’s Targetbase, Irving, Texas (Targetbase continues to do database marketing work for P&G and was never a pure interactive shop). Bigger surprises among those cut from the roster include Grey, which has been a P&G interactive shop since the company’s earliest days in the medium, and WhittmanHart, which had handled successful programs for Tide.

A P&G spokeswoman said agencies removed from the interactive roster can continue on accounts they already have but can’t compete for new ones or defend in any reviews initiated on their current assignments.

Two Cincinnati shops
The new roster includes incumbents imc2 and WPP’s Bridge Worldwide, both Cincinnati. Omnicom’s Critical Mass, named in 2004 to handle one of P&G’s largest interactive accounts for Pampers despite not being on the roster, now officially joins it. Independent Digitas, Boston, which already handles Gillette, formally joins the roster, too.

Other roster newcomers include Avenue A/ Razorfish, New York; Havas’ Euro RSCG, New York; and Resource Interactive, Columbus.

”With the acquisition of Gillette, it gave us the opportunity to look across our whole businesses and review our interactive agencies,” the spokeswoman said. In the future, she said the roster will be reviewed more often, every two years.

More vigorous enforcement
One executive familiar with the matter said the move codifies some relationships that had developed outside the roster without the approval of P&G’s marketing services or purchasing groups, and said P&G’s purchasing department now is likely to enforce the roster more vigorously than it has in the past.

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Matthew Creamer contributed to this report.

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