Vodafone reviews £40m UK media

LONDON - Vodafone has launched a review of its £40m UK media account as a likely forerunner to the consolidation of its £250m global planning and buying arrangements into a single network.

Vodafone is believed to have triggered local media reviews in several other key territories, as it explores the idea of centralising its global account. If one network emerges in a dominant position from the local pitches then it could be rewarded with the entire Vodafone international business.

A shortlist has yet to be drawn up for the UK account, but the pitch is likely to include the incumbent, OMD UK, a representative from the WPP Group and Carat, which handles media buying in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Sweden.

Optimedia, which handles Vodafone's Vizzavi portal, is another possible contender for the business.

J Walter Thompson, owned by WPP, was appointed as Vodafone's global creative network a fortnight ago, adapting work from Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam. However, WPP's largest global media player, MindShare, faces a potential conflict from its pan-European Hutchison 3G account, which it picked up in January after a pitch against MediaCom.

Vodafone's advertising arrangements have been complicated by the nature of its growth, with a series of hostile acquisitions across Europe leading to a variety of media and creative shops working on the business in different territories. Carat International handles media for global campaigns.

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