Warner Bros. Moves Media Planning, Buying From MediaCom To OMG

Warner Bros. is moving its media planning and buying assignment -- valued at $800 million, according to Kantar Media -- to the Omnicom Media Group from MediaCom, a unit of WPP's GroupM, without a formal review.

For OMG, which issued a memo to the troops Wednesday confirming the win, the timing is fortuitous and nicely fills the void -- and then some -- left by the recent decision of Comcast to shift the Universal Studios buying assignment, previously held by Omnicom's OMD, to Group M's Maxus just last month.

For MediaCom, the loss is the latest catastrophe in a downward spiral that started about two years ago with the loss of the high-profile $200 million LVMH account. Late last year, the shop lost pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, which spends an estimated $700 million a year on ads, to PHD, also part of Omnicom.

That loss effectively cost MediaCom North America CEO Doug Checkeris his job. He was replaced in January of this year by MediaCom veteran Harvey Goldhersz.

Still, the losses continue to mount.

In March, long-time client Hasbro shifted its media assignment from MediaCom to Interpublic Group's Initiative. And now, after seven years as a client, comes the Warner Bros. departure. The only good news -- at least on the new business front -- for MediaCom of late was a win this week for a $200 million U.S. tourism account, where the shop pitched with sibling JWT. Earlier in the month it also won an assignment from Canadian toymaker Spin Master.

It was not precisely clear how OMG would manage the newly won account. Options include creating a holding company solution with a custom-tailored team of talent cherry-picked from various OMG shops. Or the company could park the account at one of its agencies. An agency rep declined comment, referring calls to the client. Warner Bros. reps could not be immediately reached.

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