McCann hit by 20m Sega blow

Computer games maker Sega is understood to have given its country managers across Europe the freedom to choose their own advertising agencies, in a move which weakens McCann-Erickson’s hold on the 20m pan-European account.

The move follows Sega’s decision earlier this year to close its European headquarters in London and Sega sales operations in Holland, Belgium and Austria, writing off $238m (150m) in the process(MW January 26).

Sources suggest the restructure has caused disarray in local European markets and Sega has decided to pacify country managers by allowing them to choose agencies for their own market.

McCann remains Sega’s agency of record and will be retained while local markets want it. Sega’s national press campaign which attacks rival games maker Nintendo and is due to break today (Wednesday) has been devised by McCann.

European marketing and product director Barry Jafrato, UK marketing director Noel Dardis and UK managing director Alan Sharam were all ousted in Sega’s reshuffle. Head of marketing for the UK and Europe was taken over by Andrew Mee, formerly a European product manager.

Sega said the restructure was needed because of the decline in the UK video games market from a peak value of more than 500m in 1992, to about 250m last year. Sega Europe had failed to post a profit since 1993.

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