Publicis wins out in £400m Mars media review

Publicis Media has had a welcome Christmas present from Mars, landing the company’s media buying in the UK (about £90m via incumbent Zenith), Germany and India (Starcom) and also China and South East Asia. In all the review covered about £400m of media.

WPP’s MediaCom, which remains Mars’ global media planning agency, lost out in Germany and India. The agency did, though, win Mars in the important Australia and New Zealand markets.

WPP’s media agencies haven’t had the best second half of 2016. MEC lost $4bn AT&T in the US to Omnicom’s new Hearts & Science while MediaCom lost £2bn VW globally to Omnicom’s PHD.

There are so many massive media reviews these days that it’s hard to detect a trend to one big group or another. Clients and the consultants who advise them must be swayed to an extent by investigations like the US Association of National Advertisers’ into media “transparency” (or the lack of it). In particular they’ll be looking at programmatic (buying by computer). WPP’s more aggressive stance on this (it buys inventory through Xaxis before apportioning it) may not be doing it too many favours with suspicious clients.

Every week seems to bring more evidence that billions are wasted by computers buying sites that don’t exist – or shouldn’t – but people keep at it regardless.

Media is the most profitable part of all the advertising holding companies’ operations. With some clients on the warpath it looks as though media agency staff will be just as busy pitching in 2017. Makes you wonder how they have the time to do any day-to-day work. Maybe the computers look after that.

This is an update of an earlier post.

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