Disney Studio Shifts $800 Million In Media Duties To OMD

Disney has shifted the media planning and buying assignment on its movie business from Publicis Groupe to Omnicom’s OMD, according to sources.

The Disney studio spends about $800 million on ads annually.

The shift came without a formal review. Sources confirmed a report on the Adweek website, which had the story first, that Publicis Groupe’s 4D unit, which was created two years ago by Publicis Groupe to handle the account, will follow the business to OMD.

Publicis Groupe won the business in 2011 after a review that included the film studio, home entertainment and interactive and gaming operations. Publicis created the Disney-dedicated 4D unit to pitch the business after incumbent Starcom opted not to defend its Disney account.

A separate assignment covering theme parks and resorts was awarded to Carat, which remains in place.



The reason for the shift was not immediately clear.  Disney and OMD reps didn’t return calls seeking comment. But some of the players have changed since the 2011 review, which was overseen MT Carney, then head of worldwide marketing at the Disney Studio. Donna Speciale, then the long-time and well-regarded investment and activation head at MediaVest was said to be involved in the 4D pitch. Carney was particularly fond of Speciale’s work and input, per sources. But both were gone from their respective posts within a year or so of the pitch.

The shift is a huge win for OMD and its newly-minted U.S. CEO Monica Karo who was just named to the position in September.

For Omnicom, Disney is the the second big studio it has corralled as a media client. Warner Bros is handled by Omnicom Media Group.

While the loss of the Disney business is a blow to Publicis Groupe, it’s likely just a temporary one, at least from the holding company perspective. Omnicom and Publicis hope to complete their proposed merger sometime early next year. 

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