ZenithOptimedia hit as Carlsberg and MG Rover review

LONDON - ZenithOptimedia is being reviewed by two of its biggest clients -- Carlsberg and MG Rover -- which account for £34m of its UK billings.

Carlsberg, the Copenhagen-based brewer, is in the early stages of a review of its global media account and has instructed the media auditor Billetts to assist in the process. The UK account is worth £13m.

During Euro 2004, Carlsberg pumped an additional £23m into marketing and is in the middle of an expansion drive into Russia.

Saatchi & Saatchi is responsible for creating the long-running "So good, the Danes hate to see it leave" strapline for Carlsberg's advertising.

The car-maker MG Rover is also reviewing its £21m UK media account out of ZenithOptimedia following an announcement that it was launching an efficiency drive.

Guy Jones, the former marketing director at Kia and now MG Rover's marketing and PR manager for the UK, has kicked off discussions with media agencies.

A spokesman said: "We are conducting a benchmarking process, which is something we do on a regular basis."

MG Rover was bought from BMW by Phoenix Venture Holdings in May 2000 and has struggled to maintain its market share, prompting speculation that it may be bought by a foreign manufacturer. The company is expected to produce another loss on top of the £95m it lost in 2002 -- this figure was half that of the previous year. Phoenix is now planning £100m of cost-cuts and a reduction in vehicle production.

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