Heinz hands European media to two networks

HJ Heinz has divided its 55 million euro pan-European media planning and buying account between Vizeum and Mediaedge:cia rather than consolidate it into one agency network as expected.

The business has been split into northern and southern European territories, following pitches from Vizeum, Mediaedge:cia and OMD.

Vizeum takes control of the northern European business, taking on the UK and France accounts on top of the business in The Netherlands, which it already held.

Meanwhile, Mediaedge:cia has won the business in Italy and Portugal and has retained the Spanish account. The review did not include Germany, where ZenithOptimedia was recently appointed.

Scott Garrett, the brand director at Heinz, said: "We didn't go into the pitch with the intention of splitting the account - the hypothesis was that this would provide us with the best media value. But the solution we've come up with, we think, provides this."

By dividing the business between the two networks, Heinz has also overcome problems with their geographical spread - Vizeum is particularly weak in southern Europe and has no presence in Portugal at all.

Garrett added that the pitches had been managed on a local basis and the decision to split the brief was a consensus. Billetts assisted in the media review.

The plans for the review were first revealed in Campaign in May. The news put Starcom Motive, the UK incumbent, on alert. Heinz was Starcom's first UK client; the agency has had the £8 million account since 1999.

Despite being invited to repitch for the business, Starcom withdrew after it won the £11 million UK Pizza Hut business from PHD, leaving Vizeum and Mediaedge:cia to battle it out with OMD.

Martyn Rattle, Vizeum's chief operating officer, said: "This win will be transformational for Vizeum. Not only does it validate our unique and fresh approach to media planning, but it puts us squarely on the map for major international brands."

Leo Burnett, Starcom Motive's sister creative agency, holds the UK creative accounts but this was not part of the review.

Burnett is currently running a £5 million campaign for Heinz Baked Beanz, which plays up the nutritional value of the product. Tins of the product now bear the words "Heinz Baked Beanz", borrowing from its 60s strapline: "Beanz Meanz Heinz." It is the first time that the label has been changed in 135 years.

- Opinion, p27.


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