Mars Drops Grey For Ads, Volkswagen Weighs Media Account

The ink isn't even dry on WPP's acquisition of Grey Global Group, but mega agency merger already appears to be experiencing some client fallout. On Wednesday, massive packaged goods marketer Masterfoods pulled its advertising accounts out of Grey as part of a global consolidation of its brands among its Omnicom roster shops, BBDO and TBWA.

Separately, Adweek reported that German automaker Volkswagen is evaluating its $1.4 billion global media services account, now split between Grey Global's MediaCom unit and Havas' MPG unit. Adweek reported that both agencies were invited to participate in the review. Speculation had been running rampant about the status of the Volkswagen media business ever since WPP, whose agencies handle Ford Motor Co.'s media, announced a deal to acquire Grey and its MediaCom unit.

Meanwhile, Mars said it would consolidate its global "above-the-line" advertising account with Omnicom's shops at the end of the year, and that Grey would not longer work on its advertising, though it would continue to provide "below-the-line" services such as interactive, direct and sales promotion. Mars attributed the move to a need to consolidate its advertising "within one single global advertising network." But some investors commenting on Yahoo!' Finance's message boards noted that the decision was oddly familiar. "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Mars pulled out of Ted Bates after [the] Saatchis bought it in '87," posted "orcaeagle.



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