Starcom Creates P&G Planning Group
The group will be called SMG/P&G. It will be comprised of media directors and additional staff that currently handle P&G brand assignments. The group will be exclusive to P&G planning, according to a Starcom spokesperson and will be based in Chicago and York. In New York, the group will report into Laura Desmond, chief executive officer of MediaVest U.S.A., and will include team members from MediaVest and Saatchi & Saatchi. The Chicago team will report into Renetta McCann, chief executive officer of Starcom U.S.A.
According to Starcom, the change was pursued to achieve "greater efficiencies across the multiple brand planning assignments within Publicis Groupe, and to create an organizational structure that more closely mirrors the category alignment within P&G. All of the brand and category assignments were previously handled by Publicis Groupe companies, and the shift represents a strategy jointly developed by holding company leadership."
"After the Publicis Groupe acquisition of Bcom3 last fall, one of our first priorities was to marshal and align the media entities that focus on P&G, and we wanted to move forward in a way that is consistent with P&G's revolutionary category alignment," said Jack Klues, chief executive of Starcom MediaVest Group. "Aligning teams so that they can be entirely devoted to brand categories achieves an internal optimization of talent and resources for us. We gain greater efficiencies in managing the media assignments because we won't have staff in disparate locations simultaneously focused on the same category-specific challenges and opportunities."
P&G management went on record in support of the change. A Starcom spokersperson said similar plans to form exclusive planning teams are not in the works for the agencies other brands including Coke and Kraft.
Greg Ross, director of media for P&G North America, said: "Our point of contact with consumers is as strategically important as the content and messages we deliver to them. This realignment, made by Publicis, is consistent with our plans to move aggressively beyond traditional media thinking and embrace a holistic consumer communications platform. Creative and other media assignments are not impacted by this decision."