Initiative Media has unveiled an operation designed to handle the
pan-European strategic media planning task for Lever Europe, which it
won from Unilever’s creative agencies in the summer.
The unit will have two bases, one in London reporting to Initiative
Media London’s chief executive, Phil Georgiadis, and one in Paris.
Maria Boyle, the former Hong Kong-based regional media director for Leo
Burnett, will join the unit with a European brief, working with
Initiative’s strategic planner, Simon Worthington, who will have a UK
The operation will handle the strategic planning for Lever’s fabric
cleaners, fabric conditioners and dishwasher categories across
Initiative, which handles all Unilever’s media buying in the UK, picked
up the business in July, when Lever centralised its strategic planning
into two media operations, Initiative and CIA Medianetwork. Initiative’s
tasks include strategic planning for Persil (previously handled by
Walter Thompson), Surf (handled by Ammirati Puris Lintas) and Comfort
(handled by Ogilvy & Mather).
The realignment of Lever’s strategic planning followed an 18-month
trial, during which Initiative worked on Snuggle and CIA on Jif.
While there are no immediate plans for the rest of Unilever to follow
suit, Unilever insiders have made no secret of the fact that an
across-the-board policy to house strategic media planning with the media
companies is not being ruled out.