Taco Bell Consolidates $300 Million Media Assignment With SMG's Spark

Fast Food giant Taco Bell has consolidated its estimated $300 million traditional media assignment with Spark, part of Publicis Groupe’s Starcom Mediavest Group. 

Spark had already handled strategy and planning for the client — duties it won after a 2012 review. Now Taco Bell (part of Yum Brands) has placed its buying assignment with Spark as well, this time without a formal review. 

The incumbent on the traditional buying piece of the business was MEC, a unit within WPP’s GroupM. According to sources, the client notified the shops of the change yesterday. 

Digitas — like Spark, part of Publicis Groupe — continues to handle digital media planning and buying. Interpublic’s Deutsch is Taco Bell’s main creative shop. 

It’s been a very productive two weeks in the new business department for Spark. Last week it won media agency of record duties for Valspar, the paint company. 



Spark declined to comment, referring queries to Taco Bell. MEC could not immediately be reached.

Juliet Corsinita, vice president, media and brand partnerships, Taco Bell Corp., confirmed the move, stating: 
"We’re constantly looking to stay one step ahead and reach our consumers in relevant ways, so we have decided to consolidate our media strategy and buying together at Spark. Digitas will continue all our digital strategy and investment, and will work in partnership with Spark."

Yum Brands issued its quarterly earnings figures today and company CEO Greg Creed, chief executive of Yum, stated that “Outside of China, our Taco Bell and KFC divisions continued to sustain their positive sales momentum while Pizza Hut was relatively flat.”

Taco Bell, primarily a domestic chain, is reported to be the company’s strongest performing brand currently. Sales at the division were up 7% for the quarter including 4% same-store sales growth.


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