Reckitt Benckiser reviews £800m global media ahead of digital expansion

LONDON - Reckitt Benckiser, owner of brands Vanish, Veet, Clearasil and Dettol, has called a review of its global media planning and buying arrangements, estimated at £800m.

Reckitt Benckiser: is reviewing its £800m global media account for brands including Dettol
Reckitt Benckiser: is reviewing its £800m global media account for brands including Dettol

It follows plans by the global company to invest more heavily in digital media in response to changing media consumption habits.

In a statement released this week, the fast-moving consumer goods giant, one of the largest buyers of media in the world, confirmed it is taking part in one of its "regular reviews", designed to find "new and improved ways" to spend its advertising budget.

The company claims it has "excellent" working relationships with the media agencies on its global roster, which include Omnicom's OMD in the UK and Havas' MPG and Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia elsewhere.

The review will be conducted on a market-by-market basis and is being led by Ian Hutchinson, worldwide media director of Reckitt Benckiser. He said: "The profile and direction of Reckitt Benckiser's spend has changed over the past few years and, as part of this, the type of service and skills we require both internally and from our agencies has also changed.

"We are always exploring with our partners, better ways to support our brands and always pushing for higher creativity in content and delivery."

It is unclear at this stage whether the pitch process will be opened to include non-roster agencies.

Reckitt Benckiser is the name behind many well-known packaged goods brands in the household and specialty food products industries. It employs 23,000 staff at operations in 60 countries, and its products are sold across 180.

Last year, the company defied the general trend and increased its media spend by almost 30% despite the global financial downturn.

This week, it has restated its intention to continue to support its brands throughout the tough climate and its belief that, in such times, targeted investment in advertising is "key to the future growth" of the company.

The firm said: "Our commercial success lies in the fact that we constantly work with our agencies to review the opportunities available to us, and to ensure that we remain ahead of the market in our use and understanding of all the options.

"Nowhere is this more important than in the field of media, where we must reflect not just rapidly changing technology but also changing consumer habits, social attitudes and trends."

Reckitt Benckiser reported like-for-like net revenue increased 8% in the three months to 21 December, despite many parts of the world officially falling into recession.

In its full-year results, like-for-like revenue was up 10%, with net revenue increasing 7% in Europe, said to be driven by its 17 "powerbrands".

In 2009, the company is aiming for a net revenue increase of 4% to about £6.5bn, and a net income rise of +8 to 10%, equating to £1.1bn.