OMD Lands $125M Asia-Pacific Sony Business

China-Japan

Electronics giant Sony has selected Omnicom's OMD for media planning and buying duties, covering much of the Asia-Pacific region, including China and Singapore.

Ad spending on the account is estimated at $125 million, which is huge for that region of world. It's also an area where agencies are deploying greater resources, due to forecasts of significant growth in the coming years. ZenithOptimedia recently predicted that the region's ad expenditures would grow 6% to $123 billion this year, and rise another 8% in 2012 to $133 billion.

WPP's MEC was the incumbent on the Sony account and a finalist in the review along with Aegis Group's Carat.

MEC has been somewhat of a poaching ground for OMD on the new business front these last few years. Two months ago, gaming company Activision shifted North American media duties from the former to the latter without a formal review. Ad spend on that piece of business is estimated at $150 million.

And currently, the two fiercely competitive and rival media shops are competing for the planning and buying assignment for toy retailer Toys R Us, which called a review in May. MEC is also the incumbent on that account. The client spent an estimated $115 million on ads last year, according to Kantar Media.

Two years ago, Monster.com shifted its $150 million global media account to OMD from MEC, also without a formal review. Around the same time, Virgin Atlantic shifted media duties to OMD from the same incumbent.

This year, MEC did turn the tables on OMD in one review, winning insurer Allianz Australia's business. The shop also won Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz's China and Hong Kong accounts. A few years ago, when the massive AT&T account went up for grabs and MEC won it all, OMD was one of the incumbents.

It wasn't clear whether Sony was planning to review its account in other regions, but the company -- which is struggling in a number of sectors -- does appear review-minded. Sony and its mobile phone partner Ericsson called a global review in July to reassess its $200 million media agency assignment, also currently handled by MEC. But Sony Ericsson stressed in a statement at the time that it was not displeased with the shop's work, indicating that after 10 years it was simply time to conduct a review.

Interpublic's Universal McCann seems to have a secure hold on the U.S. business for now. The agency and client announced a three-year renewal in April. UM has handled the business since 2002.

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