Unilever Set to Retain Global Media Incumbents After Long Review

Omnicom's PHD Will Keep Buying in Eastern Europe and China; WPP's Mindshare to Continue Handling Biz in Western Europe

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Unilever is set to retain its media-buying incumbents in its top global regions, industry executives told Ad Age .

Omnicom's PHD will continue to handle buying in Eastern Europe and China, and WPP's Mindshare will keep its business in Western Europe. The incumbents will also continue to support Unilever brands in smaller global markets.

A Unilever spokesperson said "We have not made any official announcement." The company is expected to announce the outcome of the review in the coming days.

The news that Unilever will not make any changes to its global media-buying roster wraps up a nine-month review process. It began less than a year after Luis Di Como succeeded Laura Klauberg as senior-VP global media and two years after Unilever completed its last media-buying review.

Unilever is the second-biggest global marketer after Procter & Gamble, spending $6.6 billion per year on advertising, according to the Ad Age DataCenter's ranking of the top 100 global marketers. Unilever's biggest-spending region is Europe, followed by Asia and then the U.S.

Buying was reviewed on a regional basis, and the decision not to make any changes suggests that the agencies were asked to drive down costs.

Unilever did, however, decide to consolidate its global media-planning business within one agency. PHD is set to win the business, Ad Age reported in June 2012. A month earlier, Mindshare kept the $1.38 billion U.S. account.

While Mindshare could lose a portion of its planning business, the agency retained its U.S. media-buying business. Mindshare has worked on Unilever communications planning in North America, Western Europe and elsewhere since the late 1990s, when both the agency and marketer were among pioneers in the field.

Interpublic Group of Cos' Initiative , which supports Unilever in various global markets, had also pitched for a larger piece of the business.

Contributing: Emma Hall

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