Zenith Media has seen off the challenge of four other media agencies to
retain the pounds 70 million Kingfisher media-buying account.
Zenith, which pitched against TMD Carat, CIA Medianetwork, Mediastar and
MediaCom, has emerged from the two-month review process with a direct
contract. The media shop’s relationship with the retail group had
previously been sub-contracted through the creative agencies, Bates
Dorland for Woolworth, Superdrug and B&Q, and Saatchi and Saatchi for
Christine Walker, the chief executive of Zenith, said: ‘We have got an
independent assignment, which is very important to me and to Eddie
Styring [the chairman of Comet, who led the review]. We will work
incredibly well together.’
Walker dismissed industry rumours that Zenith had been forced to offer
commission rates of less than 1 per cent in order to retain the
business. ‘I am very happy with our terms of business,’ she said.
‘Kingfisher is much more concerned with media value than media cost,
which is exactly the way it should be.’
Styring also stressed the importance of media value. ‘We have
reappointed Zenith because its proposals most clearly matched our own
intention - to deliver real and lasting improvement in Kingfisher’s
media value,’ he said.
This is the first time Kingfisher has entered into a direct group
relationship with a media buyer. It has always left each retail brand to
handle its media and advertising in a decentralised way, but Zenith has
conducted centralised press negotiations for the group since 1988.
Around 80 per cent of Kingfisher’s business is focused on the press.
Zenith, which has handled Woolworth, B&Q and Superdrug since its
formation, picked up the pounds 24 million Comet account in April after
losing the rival Dixons business to the Media Centre.
Kingfisher’s decision to review is said to have followed the revelation
that its pre-tax profits fell 15 per cent in the six months to 29 July