Maxus and Channel 4, which has the ad sales contract for UKTV, the owner of channels including Dave and Gold, and BT Sport, failed to reach a trading agreement for L'Oréal before the start of the year.
The WPP media agency won the £135 million UK and Ireland L’Oreal account from ZenithOptimedia in October 2013 and officially took over on 1 January 2014. The appointment was one of the biggest media wins of the year.
As Maxus only won the client late in the year, sources said negotiations with the TV broadcasters begun later than usual. Media agencies generally negotiate one-year or two-year deals in the autumn.
It is not clear when an arrangement will be reached or when L'Oréal ads will return to the channels but both parties are hopeful of a resolution. Channel 4 is trading with Maxus on its other clients.
In January 2013 Maxus’s parent group Group M pulled advertising from all of its clients from Channel 4 for two weeks in one of the biggest trading disagreements of recent years. The current situation is not on that scale.
L’Oréal is a major advertiser in the UK and was the 11th biggest-spending company in the year to September 2012, according to Nielsen.
No one at Channel 4 or Maxus would comment on the negotiations.