Universal wins £50m Xbox pitch

Universal McCann is tipped to win the media planning and buying account for Microsoft’s forthcoming games console, the Xbox. The account is understood to be worth £50m across Europe.

The agency has also been awarded Microsoft’s UK media planning and buying account, which includes Microsoft Office, Windows and the company’s hardware products. The business was previously held by Media Planning. Both Universal McCann and Microsoft declined to comment.

The decision to appoint Universal McCann to handle media for Xbox follows Microsoft’s decision to consolidate its entire £291m global advertising account into McCann-Erickson, stripping the £7m UK account from Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper (MW March 8). Euro also lost the business in eight other markets, including France, Germany, Singapore and China.

It is understood that the decision to consolidate the global business was made at company headquarters in the US, following Microsoft’s announcement of cuts in its global advertising budgets.

Meanwhile the £51m creative account for the Xbox is understood to have been won by Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Last year, Microsoft appointed its first European advertising manager for Xbox, the former Hasbro Interactive senior brand manager, Harvey Eagle (MW September 28).

Eagle is overseeing the appointment of agencies for the eventual European launch of the games console, and is developing an advertising strategy for the brand, which will have a global marketing budget estimated at £344m.

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