Mars is carrying out a review of its £50 million UK media
The confectionery, food and pet care giant is expected to centralise
media planning into one agency in the UK. However, agency sources have
told Campaign that the UK review may develop into a review of Mars'
global planning arrangements.
MediaCom, MediaVest and PHD currently handle planning for a range of
Mars brands in the UK, while Zenith handles the centralised media buying
business for 75 Mars brands. The company is talking to both roster and
non-roster agencies, however.
A senior agency source said: "Mars is looking to centralise its planning
and is filtering agencies at the moment. It is currently working its way
round different markets so it can review globally."
The news that Mars is seeking to centralise media planning follows the
company's decision to merge its food and petcare businesses in the
Mars Confectionery, which includes Maltesers and Mars Bar, and Pedigree
Masterfoods, which includes Dolmio and Uncle Ben's, will trade under the
name Masterfoods, a division of Mars UK.
Mike Davies, the managing director of Pedigree Masterfoods, has been
appointed as the head of the combined business in a move which triggered
the departure of Bill Ronald, the managing director of Mars
The restructure is consistent with the reorganisation that has taken
place in other Mars businesses throughout the world this year as part of
an attempt to achieve improved economies of scale.
In the US, Masterfoods has this week selected Arnell Group as its
principal marketing development agency to work with roster shops on
brand positioning and research and development. But a question mark
hangs over media planning in the US, further fuelling reports that the
review of media planning may be carried out globally.
Mars UK has recently pulled its pan-European Mars Bar creative account
out of D'Arcy, ending a 40-year relationship with that agency earlier
Grey Worldwide won the brief to revitalise the Mars Bar brand after
pitching against fellow Mars roster network BBDO and the incumbent. Mars
claimed the review was "part of a regular brand review".
Losing Mars Bar came as a blow to D'Arcy as the agency had already lost
the £24 million pan-European Uncle Ben's rice business to BBDO
earlier this year.
Mars UK declined to comment on the review of media planning in the
Of the roster agencies, MediaVest handles 19 Mars brands, PHD has nine
and MediaCom has eight brands.