Carat poised to win Kraft Heinz media in Europe

Baked beans and ketchup giant is set to ramp up media spend by 40% for the second half of the year.

Heinz Baked Beans: Kraft Heinz has said it will put more media spend behind its biggest brands
Heinz Baked Beans: Kraft Heinz has said it will put more media spend behind its biggest brands

Kraft Heinz is set to award its media planning and buying account in Europe to Dentsu Aegis Network's Carat after a competitive pitch.

It comes after Kraft Heinz retained Publicis Groupe's Starcom to run its US media account in a global review that also included Omnicom's PHD and WPP's MediaCom.

Starcom was the incumbent in most markets.

Kraft Heinz spent $1.1bn on marketing last year and has committed to spend more of that on advertising this year because consumer packed goods have held up well during the Covid-19 crisis.

The US media account, which represents upwards of three-quarters of the global business, is reportedly worth about $700m.

The food giant owns many household name-brands such as Heinz baked beans, Heinz ketchup and Philadelphia (though the latter is marketed in Europe by Mondelez International, which was spun off by Kraft in 2012).

The company revealed it is making "a big change in marketing" last month during an earnings call, having hired three new heads of marketing for each of its three business regions, North America, EMEA and the rest of the world.

Kraft Heinz said it will ramp up its media spend by 40% in the second half of the year, after Covid-19 brought about a retrenchment in marketing activity.

However, chief executive Miguel Patricio made clear this increase in media would be offset by reductions in other forms of marketing spend.

The company had already announced in February, before lockdown measures took hold in Europe and North America, that it would significantly cut its agency roster and aim to increase "working media" spend with a shift towards "fewer, bigger, bolder initiatives". 

Patricio, who has been chief executive of Kraft Heinz since last year, added in last month's earnings call: "We are changing and evolving. We want to be much more consumer-centric. We want to be much better in marketing and in consumer insight, in innovation, in communication and this transformation and this change is happening as we speak."

MediaSense worked with Kraft Heinz on the review, which began in March and continued through the pandemic despite social distancing restrictions and the prospect of a global economic downturn.

Neither Kraft Heinz nor Carat immediately responded to a request for comment.