Kraft Heinz retains Starcom for $700m US media account

US is biggest part of global business.

Kraft Heinz: worked with Starcom for 20 years
Kraft Heinz: worked with Starcom for 20 years

Kraft Heinz has retained Publicis Groupe as its US media planning and buying agency after a major review involving Dentsu Aegis Network's Carat, Omnicom Media Group's PHD and WPP's MediaCom.

The US account, valued at $700m (£526m), will be led by Starcom and represents 85% of the global business, which includes brands such as Philadelphia cheese, Heinz baked beans and Heinz ketchup.

Starcom, which has worked with the brand for 20 years, takes on an expanded role, adding data and analytics as well as commerce to its remit.

It is as yet unclear which agency will handle the account in the rest of the world, including the UK.

The process kicked off in March and is one of the biggest media pitches to take place during the coronavirus pandemic. MediaSense worked with Kraft Heinz on the review.

More than 200 Publicis employees contributed to the pitch as part of "Publicis 57" – a name inspired by Heinz's "57 varieties" ad slogan.

According to Kraft Heinz's annual financial report, the company spent $1.1bn on marketing last year, of which $534m was advertising expense. The rest of it was mainly on "shopper marketing, sponsorships and agency advertisement conception, design and public relations fees".

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