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Philips Electronics is searching for an agency to handle the global consolidation of its media buying and planning business, which is worth approximately $600 million in billings, media executives said.

The Dutch-based electronics company consolidated its European media business with Carat in 1996 and now is looking to create a worldwide approach to media buying and planning with one global agency. Bcom3's MediaVest and Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG handle the company's media duties in the U.S.

It was first reported in the U.K's Campaign that requests for proposals have gone out to media agencies in Europe and North America. The list of competitors is said to include Bcom3's Starcom MediaVest Group, Aegis Group's Carat, WPP's MindShare, Omnicom's OMD and Zenith Media. Executives familiar with the review said that the Philips request is voluminous and detailed.

"We've put out a request for proposals to five global groups," said Inge Wallace, a Philips corporate spokeswoman in Holland who would not name the agencies at their request. "And we anticipate the process to take a couple of months. We are going through this process because we think it is important to create an efficient media buying and planning process and create significant buying power."

Ms. Wallace said a decision is expected in June. "It could be the beginning of June or the end. It all depends. You know what it is like to get dates and diaries together. I mean, that's really what it comes down to now, doesn't it?"

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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