I don’t think anyone would argue that media agencies are driving the WPP juggernaut right now and its mighty (albeit slightly mysterious) GroupM media uber-company has just steamrollered all over Havas to win Danone’s £376m European media account. The business was previously split between various WPP media agencies and Havas.
GroupM agencies MediaCom and MEC seem to have won the lion’s share of the business, with MEC keeping the £20m UK account. Havas now has to fend off GroupM in the US (where GroupM is not so strong) and Asia.
Omnicom and Aegis also pitched for Danone in Europe and will presumably be involved in the US and Asia. Aegis has shown its capabilities in these regions by landing the massive General Motors global media account while Omnicom, when it finally completes its merger with Publicis Groupe, will be the biggest US media player. So GroupM still faces some stiff competition.
But the Europe consolidation is a big blow to Havas (Danone is a French company, after all) and CEO David Jones’s attempt to position Havas as a smaller, more agile but still viable global player.
GroupM pitched under the moniker ‘OneDanone,’ a sign that WPP’s media agencies are now adopting the same bespoke team approach to big accounts as the company’s creative agencies. To outsiders this may seem a rather clumsy strategy but it seems to be working with big clients.