WPP's Mediaedge:CIA lands $150m global Texaco role

LONDON - ChevronTexaco has awarded its pan-European media planning and buying business to WPP's Mediaedge:CIA, in a move that sees the network secure the global $150m (£96m) account.

Mediaedge:CIA already handled the oil giant's business in the US, but now consolidates the global account. The deal is part of a wider arrangement with WPP involving ChevronTexaco's European above- and below-the-line accounts.

ChevronTexaco's account is the biggest win for Mediaedge:CIA since The Media Edge merged with CIA Medianetwork at the beginning of the year and it comes at a crucial time for the network.

Mediaedge:CIA's name has been largely absent from global media pitchlists, raising questions over the success of the merger. It lost its global Shell account last year and this year Wrigley's and Daewoo have both moved to rival agencies. It is defending its pan-European Gap account.

Mediaedge:CIA beat Zenith Optimedia Group, Interpublic's Universal McCann and Starcom MediaVest, the incumbent, to the centralised media account.

WPP's Young & Rubicam and Wunderman take on the creative accounts. They will be run from the London offices of the respective agencies. Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R will handle the above-the-line business.

HHCL & Partners is the incumbent on the £10 million UK account. The company has a low above-the-line profile, with most of the billings attributable to promotional and point-of-sale activity. HHCL is processing a merger with WPP's Red Cell, and that agency's below-the-line subsidiary, Perspectives Red Cell, is expected to keep the sales promotion business.

Y&R's San Francisco office already handles the creative advertising account in the US, while McCann-Erickson has the account in the Asia-Pacific region and BBDO in South America.

ChevronTexaco, the US's second-largest oil company after ExxonMobil, announced its intention to centralise its $150 million global media business to cut costs earlier this year after Chevron bought its rival Texaco in 2001. It has about 1,000 UK forecourts.

HHCL's most recent work for Texaco was a national advertising campaign, including TV and radio, promoting a tie-up with Disney for its children's film Lilo & Stitch. It launched at the end of September with media planning and buying by MediaVest.

However, Texaco's most notable activity has been the broadcast sponsorship of ITV1's coverage of Formula 1. After a long battle, Toyota took over the sponsorship and since then Texaco's advertising has been sporadic and low key.

No one at Mediaedge:CIA would comment on the win.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.