Maxus wins big with £135m L’Oreal but rues loss of Mercedes to new Publicis team

images-3You win a few, you lose a few and there will be mixed feelings at WPP media agency Maxus this morning as news emerges that the agency has won L’Oreal’s huge £135m UK media account but lost its part of the international Mercedes account to Publicis Groupe, £14m in the UK. WPP’s MEC handled the rest.

L’Oreal, which moves from Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia, is much the bigger account of course but Maxus executives would acknowledge that the next step on the road for WPP/GroupM’s newest media agency (formed in 2008) is substantial international business and Mercedes represented a slice of that.

L’Oreal, almost uniquely among the world’s advertising leviathans, prefers to place its media business market-by-market, although various WPP media agencies now have a big share of it. But winning L’Oreal in the UK is akin to being crowned the UK’s best media agency so there’s plenty to celebrate there.

When L’Oreal billings come on stream Maxus can expect to rise up the UK media rankings (it’s currently in eighth place will billings of £320m). Such rosy prospects are not available at Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia, alas, as it contemplates heavy redundancies. The loss could hardly have come at a worse time as Publicis and Omnicom contemplate what to do with all their various media brands (about nine in the UK).

Some ZO staff will doubtless be redeployed to the new, so far unnamed, ‘team’ that’s going to handle Mercedes. This number is unlikely to include Tim Hipperson, the former boss of G2 Joshua (not a media agency) who succeeded Gerry Boyle at the helm just six months ago.



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