Work Had Been With Berlin Cameron, and JWT

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NEW YORK ( -- Samsung is moving the portion of its $200 million global branding assignment handled by WPP Group's Berlin Cameron and JWT to Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett Worldwide without a review, according to executives familiar with the matter. The move comes less than one year after Samsung Electronics moved the global branding assignment to WPP Group.

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WPP won the business last November after a drawn-out holding company review that pitted incumbent Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Foote Cone & Belding against WPP and Publicis Groupe.

Berlin Cameron handled creative duties while global network JWT managed the account. Both of those units are now off the account. Other WPP agencies involved with the account -- Wunderman, Group M and Landor -- will continue their relationships with the marketer, according to knowledgeable executives.

$400 million pie
Overall, Samsung is worth $400 million, and WPP had picked up half of it with the global assignment. The marketer continued to work with Leo Burnett and FCB, as well as Cheil Communications, its own entity, for product and country-specific work. Those accounts were worth an estimated $200 million.

JWT and other WPP executives were informed last week by Samsung about the marketer's unhappiness with some aspects of the relationship, according to one executive familiar with the situation.

Another issue, said several executives, was compensation, which has been under negotiation for a number of months.

“Leo Burnett has prevailed,” said one executive familiar with the situation.

Samsung did not return calls by press time. Berlin Cameron referred calls to the client, as did JWT. Leo Burnett and Publicis did not return calls by press time.

Blow for Berlin
Samsung’s departure is the second big blow for Berlin Cameron in less than one month. In early October, Coca-Cola Co. moved duties for its $150 million-plus North American flagship advertising account to independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

In recent weeks, agency management let go of approximately 40 staffers because of that loss. The agency doesn’t expect to let go of additional staff as a result of the Samsung move. Berlin, part of WPP's Voluntarily United Group of Creative Agencies, is still competing for duties on a global advertising assignment for Coca-Cola’s flagship brand.

Contributing: Jim Arndorfer, Beth Snyder Bulik

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