Unilever moves $59m local media account from Mindshare to PHD

unileverGlobal FMCG giant Unilever is moving its $59m media account from Mindshare to PHD, Mumbrella can reveal.

It is the biggest account move in Australia this year and a blow to GroupM, which is currently undergoing significant management changes following the departure of CEO John Steedman last month.

For PHD the win will mean a considerable staffing up in its Sydney office which has come close in several major pitches in recent years, and has recently won Bayer, SAP, Priceline and Cancer Council. The agency’s biggest client is ANZ Bank.

Unilever brands include Lynx, Dove, Omo and Continental.

Unilever said in a statement: “Unilever Australia has completed the review of its media planning and buying agency services, as part of the Company’s global policy to periodically evaluate media arrangements. The review included the current incumbent Mindshare along with PHD and Initiative Media. Unilever is pleased to announce PHD has been appointed as the media agency for Unilever Australia and New Zealand.”

It is understood that no handover date has yet been set.

phd logoThe global pitch was announced in January, with Nielsen reporting Unilever had a main media spend of $59m in the 12 months to June in Australia.

Mindshare has held the account in Australia since 2011 when it was won under former CEO James Greet, taking it from UM. Mindshare also has responsibility for the account in a number of other countries in the region including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Pakistan Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

While the move is a blow for Mindshare there was speculation as to whether the agency would pitch for the business in Australia this time around.

The agency has also been boosted in recent months by taking clients large IAG and Foxtel from sister agency Mediacom following a scandal around misreporting of TV audience figures after campaigns.

GroupM has confirmed there will be no redundancies as a result of the account loss.

The pitch is one of a series of global pitches to come down on the Australia in recent months, with Adweek in the US terming it “Mediapalooza” with more than $200m at play in the local Australian market.

Unilever’s rivals Johnson & Johnson have also called a pitch (putting OMD on alert), other global media pitches include: 21st Century Fox (held locally by ZenithOptimedia) and Sony (Mediacom, UM, OMD).

Nic Christensen 


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