Revlon global media account lands with Initiative

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Credit: Bloomberg

Initiative has won Revlon's global media account following a review, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Interpublic agency referred questions to Revlon, and a spokesman for the company was unable to immediately reach executives for comment. Revlon reported $550 million in global advertising spending last year in its 10-K report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That figure includes some non-media expenses including agency fees, talent fees, production costs and promotional displays.

The review, which began in March, came at a crucial time for Revlon. The company has a new CEO, has been relaunching its flagship brand with a new campaign from WPP's Grey and is expanding its Almay cosmetics brand at Ulta.

Incumbent Mediacom picked up global media duties only last year, the same time WPP sibling Grey picked up global creative duties. But Mediacom had held North American duties for seven years.

In a statement to Ad Age, Mediacom said: "On March 23, Revlon informed us of its intent to begin a media review. We responded within 24 hours, letting the client know that we did not wish to participate. We thank Revlon for the opportunity to help grow its global brands over the past seven years and wish them well."

Revlon launched the new "Live Boldly" campaign from Grey in January, days before CEO Fabian Garcia, who appointed Grey and Mediacom last year, stepped down.

Garcia had been on the job less than two years, succeeded on an interim basis by board member Paul Meister, who became executive vice chairman. Then late last month the company appointed new CEO Debra Perelman, 44-year-old daughter of controlling shareholder Ronald Perelman.

Turnover in the C-suite, including CEOs and chief marketers, has been a constant at the company, which has seen four CEOs over just the past six years.

Revlon put more than $19 million in TV support behind its new "Live Boldly" campaign through April, according to estimates, but went off TV in mid-April, shortly after the review began and Mediacom resigned, only to start back up on May 28 with another $4 million outlay through yesterday.

Ron Perelman has been buying more shares of the beauty company since last year, fueling concern from other shareholders and holders of unsecured debt that he's preparing to take the company private at terms unfavorable to them.

Revlon has been battered for years by a combination of competition from big players like L'Oreal and Estee Lauder combined with the growing role of startups fueled by digital and social media. Newer brands have been popular with retailers, particularly Sephora and Ulta, eager for the latest products and brands. But new shelf sets and expanded distribution for Revlon and Almay at Ulta have fueled hope of a turnaround recently.

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