More pain on the US media front for IPG and Publicis as $870m L’Oreal moves to WPP’s MEC

French beauty giant L’Oreal has moved its $870m North America media account to WPP’s MEC, defenestrating Interpublic’s UM and Publcis Groupe’s Digitas LBi in the process. IPG’s McCann keeps the creative account.

LOreal-headquartersL’Oreal, unusually for a huge global ad spender, appoints media agencies on a country basis. WPP’s Maxus handles the account in the UK.

Neither IPG nor Publicis are doing well in the current spate of media reviews. IPG got off to a good start by winning Coca-Cola but it’s been largely downhill since. Publicis lost Procter & Gamble’s $2.6bn North America media account to outsider Omnicom earlier this week.

L’Oreal USA client Nadine Karp McHugh, who rejoices in the title of senior vice president of Omnimedia, Strategic Investments and Creative Solutions, says: “Combined with the buying power of GroupM, we believe that we’ve found the perfect partner to help us co-create the future of beauty along with our media partners.” Karp McHugh was at WPP’s Mindshare and Ogilvy before moving to Colgate-Palmolive and then L’Oreal, which won’t have disadvantaged WPP and GroupM.

It’s tricky to judge such things. ‘Better the devil you know’ is one way of looking at it. And you can hardly exclude an industry behemoth like WPP (about to get even bigger by taking a majority of Australia’s STW agency group) from such considerations just because you used to work there.

What we do know is that both IPG and Publicis Groupe are starting to look somewhat ragged on the US media front.

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