Zenith Optimedia poised to snatch £1bn L’Oréal media

Cosmetics giant L’Oréal is being tipped to consolidate its media planning and buying account, estimated to be worth £1bn, into the incumbent, Publicis Groupe-owned Zenith Optimedia, following a final pitch against Interpublic Group’s Universal

Cosmetics giant L’Oréal is being tipped to consolidate its media planning and buying account, estimated to be worth £1bn, into the incumbent, Publicis Groupe-owned Zenith Optimedia, following a final pitch against Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann.

Universal handles the bulk of the business in the UK, where it is worth £95m. The agency handles the L’Oréal, Maybelline and Garnier brands, while Zenith Optimedia handles the Lancôme range of cosmetics products. The media pitch was initially carried out at a market-by-market level, with a final decision being made by L’Oréal’s head office in Paris. That decision is expected to be announced later this week.

L’Oréal and Zenith Optimedia were not returning calls as Marketing Week went to press.

Globally, L’Oréal is one of the world’s ten largest advertisers, and its creative business is shared by Publicis and IPG’s McCann Erickson. The creative account is not thought to be under review.

L’Oréal uses singer Beyoncé Knowles as its international brand spokeswoman, and recently appointed Big Brother presenter Davina McCall to front a £7m UK advertising campaign, by Publicis, for its hair colourant Garnier Nutrisse Cream.

Liliane Bettencourt, daughter of the company’s founder, and her family indirectly control L’Oréal. Nestlé also owns a large stake in the world’s largest cosmetics company.

Chairman and chief executive Lindsay Owen-Jones is expected to cede the chief executive’s title to Jean-Paul Agon next April.

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