UB mulls ú18m centralisation

Food giant United Biscuits is reviewing its ú18m media buying business with a view to centralising it into one buying point.

Food giant United Biscuits is reviewing its £18m media buying business with a view to centralising it into one buying point.

The company, which comprises McVitie’s Group, KP Foods and frozen food company Ross Young’s, has asked a media consultant, the Billett Consultancy, to draw up a shortlist of media agencies to pitch for the business.

The incumbents on the business – Publicis’ media dependent Optimedia, Grey’s Mediacom, Leo Burnett and media independent John Ayling & Associates – are understood to have been asked to pitch. Three other agencies are also expected to pitch.

“They have been thinking about it for some time,” says one incumbent. “And now they have told us they’ve gone a bit further this time. I don’t believe a commitment to centralise has been made yet.”

Rumours about a United Biscuits media centralisation have been circulating since it wound down its in-house media co-ordination unit in December 1993. Optimedia was appointed at the time to handle the co-ordination task.

Mediacom, incumbent on the Ross Young’s business through its Mind Over Media subsidiary, may have to consider whether to pitch because the McVitie’s biscuit business would clash with its Mars Confectionery account.

“We would be so deep in the shit with Mars it’s unbelievable,” says one Mediacom source.

The pitch is further confused by City rumours that UB is a likely target for a takeover by Hanson. Lord Hanson is known to favour Lowe Howard-Spink for consumer brands.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here