Leo Burnett takes over 170m P&G business

Leo Burnett has won Procter & Gamble’s centralised 165m TV media buying account and its 5m outdoor advertising business after pitching jointly with prospective merger partner MediaVest.

Leo Burnett has won Procter & Gamble’s centralised 165m TV media buying account and its 5m outdoor advertising business after pitching jointly with prospective merger partner MediaVest.

Sources suggest that the win will hasten the merger between the two agencies, which is expected to be announced next month. The creation of a joint P&G buying unit is also probable. MediaVest won P&G’s 2m radio business, with the 7m press buying going to Mediacom.

The move comes after P&G’s media director Bernard Balderston called a review on the consumer goods company’s 180m media buying business in the UK, shortlisting Saatchi & Saatchi, Mediacom, Mediapolis and Leo Burnett/MediaVest.

P&G’s decision to hand the lion’s share of the business – the UK’s largest media buying account – to Leo Burnett is a blow to Saatchi & Saatchi, which has handled the television buying jointly with Burnett for four years.

Saatchi and Mediapolis have walked away from the media review empty-handed. Saatchi, which earns around 1m a year in fees from P&G, employs 11 of its 30 media staff on P&G business. It is understood these jobs face the axe. It is thought the changes will come into effect next spring.

The expected merger between MediaVest and Burnett has already sparked a review of Media-Vest’s KFC fast food business, which conflicts with Burnett’s McDonald’s account. The merger will cause further clashes as Burnett handles United Biscuits, which has salty snack, biscuit and confectionery brands that conflict with Media-Vest’s clients Mars and Walkers crisps. There was no one available at UB to comment.

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