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Sadoun’s Publicis Worldwide to the fore as General Mills, Citi and Sears finalise agency reviews

The widely advertising spate of agency reviews, mostly driven by the US, continues apace – not just media but some creative ones too.

On the latter front Sears Holdings, which spends about $400m, has finalised its review, dumping Interpublic’s FCB from the Kmart supermarket chain (‘Ship My Pants’ and all the rest of it) in favour of Havas and giving Sears to Publicis Groupe, which seems to be taking a ‘Team Sears’ approach. Both brands are struggling, reporting falling second quarter sales.

Publicis also seems to faring reasonably in the media review stakes. It has the highest number of accounts up for grabs although WPP’s GroupM has the most money at stake.

Publicis media agency Zenith, though, has lost General Mills’ $900m or so US media to WPP’s Mindshare but creative agency Publicis Worldwide (yes, this is confusing) has won financial services giant Citi’s combined creative and media business, worth around $500m worldwide. The media business moves from WPP’s MEC and Publicis-owned Starcom, although one imagines some at least of the Starcom team will still be on the case.

It’s interesting to see creative agencies muscling in on the media pitches. WPP’s Ogilvy won a planning brief from Coca-Cola earlier this summer when the main media account moved to IPG’s UM. Maybe some clients don’t entirely trust media agencies, who knows?

So, so far, it looks like swings and roundabouts for Publicis Groupe and WPP, with IPG losing ground despite the Coca-Cola media win. The performance of Publcis Worldwide is noteworthy.

It’s one of the big three creative networks within Publicis Groupe alongside Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi although, unlike the other two, it’s difficult to think of anything particular it stands for – apart from being big and French. But it’s now helmed by Arthur Sadoun (below), seen by some as the eventual successor to Maurice Levy as CEO of the group.

The wins it’s racking up will help Sadoun’s case, presumably. He’s been charged with making various bits of the group work together better and recently took over as global boss of Publicis-owned PR network MSL.

One also wonders if technology consultancy Sapient, which Publicis bought for $3.7bn at the turn of the year, is playing a role in all this. Many clients are looking for advice they can trust about digital and Sapient, coming from the tech sector, is well positioned to offer this.

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