J Walter Thompson and Carat are contesting the strategic media planning accounts on an estimated &£16m of advertising for United Distillers and Vintners UK.
The pitch involves the planning on Baileys Irish Cream, Smirnoff Vodka, Malibu rum, J B whisky and Tanqueray gin. It results from UDV’s surprise decision to shift its $125m global creative accounts for Baileys, Smirnoff and Malibu out of Lowe and Partners Worldwide and into JWT last month.
The planning on these brands was formerly handled by Lowe’s media shop Western International Media. When the creative accounts switched, some sources assumed the planning would automatically revert to Carat which last year won the bulk of the &£63m UK media business for UDV’s parent company Diageo.
But a UDV spokesman says the company has now asked for “proposals” for the planning from both Carat and JWT,which will work with its media arm MindShare.
The brief includes the media planning on JWT’s existing creative accounts for Tanqueray and J B, as well as the three brands formerly with Lowe.
MindShare and JWT have been fighting for a slice of Diageo’s media in several key markets around the world. MindShare, which used to handle the media for Guinness, was a keen rival to Carat during the pitch in the UK last year.
It recently won Diageo’s media business in Australia, while JWT was a competitor for Diageo’s consolidated US business which went to Leo Burnett’s Starcom Media Services. Leo Burnett handles the creative accounts for Gordon’s gin and Johnnie Walker whisky globally.
UDV has consolidated from over 100 agencies working on its core brands around the world, to two.