- KFC has awarded its £9 million media planning and buying account to Zenith Media after a five way pitch which also involved Initiative Media, Optimedia, New PHD and Motive.
KFC kicked off a review at the end of September in reaction to the plans of its incumbent agency, MediaVest, to merge its global operations with those of Leo Burnett, which holds the conflicting McDonald's account.
For Zenith, the win quickly fills the hole left by the loss of its £12.3 million Burger King TV buying account last month, after Diageo decided to centralise its entire UK media business. Zenith was forced to drop off the pitch list because Diageo's Guinness business clashed with the agency's Carlsberg-Tetley account. The Diageo pitch was eventually won by Carat.
Zenith will begin work on the KFC account at the beginning of next year.
Graham Duff, chief executive of Zenith, said: "We are delighted that KFC have the confidence to appoint Zenith to their media planning and buying. Hopefully, our experience in this sector and the general market position can work to their benefit."
There were two stages to the pitch, with Zenith, Initiative and Optimedia going through to the final round. KFC's marketing director, John Prior, would not comment on the reasons for choosing Zenith or the fast food company's future plans, but confirmed the appointment saying: "KFC UK has selected Zenith as its media agency to take effect from 1 January 1999."
Zenith has had a mixed month, picking up the centralised planning and buying for Lloyds TSB and Cheltenham and Gloucester, worth an extra £10.8 million to the agency, at the end of last month, while losing Camelot's £20 million media buying account to BMP Optimum last week.