Unilever is understood to be reviewing its &£40m outdoor planning and buying account and has sent briefs to outdoor specialists ahead of a pitch.
The decision by the packaged-goods giant will come as a blow to Concord, which has held the account – consistently the country’s largest outdoor brief – since 1994. Unilever has ordered that no outdoor advertising should be booked for 2006, a move media owners say may lead to planned campaigns being cut if a decision is not made soon.
As one outside source comments: “There is a danger that Unilever campaigns that would normally run in January will not now run, if a pitch drags on.” The move will also be a blow to holding company Aegis Group, which acquired Concord and its owner Alban Communications for &£8m earlier this summer. The Unilever business, which Concord will continue to book until the end of the year, accounts for approximately a third of its business. Both Unilever and Concord declined to comment.
Kinetic, a merger between WPP’s Portland and rival Poster Publicity, is likely to be a major contender for the &£40m account.