Samsung on the Prowl for Global Marketing Agencies

Korean Electronics Giant Is Sending Out an RFI

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Samsung Electronics has issued a request-for-information as it readies a global agency review, according to people familiar with the matter.

The requests were sent out for media, creative and digital work in multiple countries. The RFIs are being distributed at the holding-company level.

Starcom MediaVest Group, a unit of Publicis, supports the bulk of Samsung's global media business. The company's creative partners include Publicis' Leo Burnett, MDC's 72andSunny, Cheil and Cheil-owned McKinney. Interpublic's RGA won a large portion of Samsung's U.S. digital business last summer.

Agencies mentioned either declined to comment or did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Samsung has become a massive advertiser on a global level. According to Ad Age DataCenter's Marketer Trees 2013 database, the company reported worldwide advertising expenses of $4.35 billion in 2012, up 60.3% from ad expenses of $2.71 billion in 2011. In its most recent financial statement, from February, Samsung reported $3.83 billion in advertising spending in 2013. Additionally, the conglomerate listed $7.38 billion in sales promotion, up 37% from 2012.

For Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, the mobile business outweighs its others significantly. Information technology and mobile-communications sales reached $205.9 billion in 2012, the latest year available in the Ad Age DataCenter; sales of consumer electronics were $99.6 billion. (These sales figures are before Samsung, a major technology supplier, subtracts its significant intracompany sales. Samsung's total 2012 worldwide sales for all products, after subtracting intracompany sales, was about $179 billion.)

R3:JLB, the consultancy headquartered in Singapore, is managing the agency search, according to one source familiar with the company.

Samsung did not respond to requests for comment. The company last put its agency accounts under review in 2007, when its global media spending was $600 million.

Contributing: Emma Hall

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