Bayer is poised to award its estimated $400 million U.S. media assignment to WPP’s MediaCom after a review, according to sources. Interpublic’s Initiative was the incumbent.
Sources stressed that MediaCom and Bayer have not signed a deal, but indicated that Initiative has been informed that the client is making a switch. The two agencies were the finalists in the review.
Initiative could not be reached for comment. MediaCom referred calls to the client. A Bayer rep did not immediately return a query seeking comment.
Bayer kicked off the review in September -- just two years after consolidating the account with Interpublic's Initiative, sources confirmed. MediaCom also handles the account outside the U.S.
In 2009, Bayer placed its U.S. HealthCare media duties with Initiative after a review. At the time, the media shop was already handling the client's Consumer Care division. The HealthCare account had been split between Initiative, which handled national broadcast duties, and WPP's MEC, which handled the remaining portion of the account.
For MediaCom, it’s the second major win in a week. Cosmetics giant Revlon confirmed Monday that it has consolidated its global media agency assignment with the WPP shop. Last year, Revlon spent an estimated $265 million on ads worldwide.
The Bayer win helps fill a big hole left in the shop’s pharma practice with the departure of GlaxoSmithKline almost a year ago. GSK decided to shift its $700 million U.S. account to PHD in late December of last year.
It's been a bumpy ride for Initiative this year. Early in 2011, Home Depot, with estimated spending of $420 million, defected to Aegis Group's Carat. This summer, S.C. Johnson parted ways with Initiative and sibling agency DraftFCB after a global consolidation review with nearly $1 billion in annual spending. Initiative handled the buying portion of the account.
On the plus side, Initiative won media assignments from toymaker Hasbro and children's TV network The Hub, with estimated combined spending of $175 million. It also won financial services company USAA, an estimated $100 million assignment.