Big media accounts are changing hands all over the place at the moment and Publicis Groupe is doing as well as anyone, with Starcom adding the $600m Novartis global account hard on the hells of Digitas winning $1bn Sprint in North America.
PG is still waiting to see if $3bn General Motors will confirms its expected switch to Carat (surely GM boss Joel Ewanick will say something before Christmas) but, if the account does go, Maurice Levy’s French-based marcoms company has already garnered a fair collection of consolation prizes.
As for MEC, the Novartis switch caps a terrible run that has also included losing Activision, Pizza Hut and Toys R Us. From the outside it’s almost impossible to determine why a media account moves, unlike a creative account where at least you can see if the ads are turkeys.
But PG’s huge investment in digital (it has spent over $2bn in recent years on the likes of Digitas, Razorfish, Rosetta Marketing Group and Big Fuel) must be part of its media attraction. That will worry MEC owner WPP which has also invested heavily in digital with a string of smaller acquisitions and 24/7 Real Media.
WPP’s next challenge is hanging on to, or even increasing, Mindshare’s roughly 50 per cent slice of $6bn Unilever global media which is also reviewing. At least it won’t have to worry about PG’s media line-up in that pitch as it’s a big Procter & Gamble agency group.
Or will it?