Nestle media account goes to ZenithOptimedia and WPP's Group M

ZenithOptimedia and WPP's Group M have won the £894m global media planning and buying account for Nestle, following one of the most complex pitches in recent years.

Details for the UK business are to be unveiled shortly, though it is believed existing deals for indivudal products and markets are to be scrapped and media activity will be handled on a country-by-country basis.

The announcement will come as a massive blow to Universal McCann in the UK, which has lost a number of key accounts in 2004, including the high-profile BSkyB media brief to MediaCom, after a solid year with wins for the Daily Telegraph, RHM, Autoglass, More Th>n and SC Johnson.

Universal McCann had held run various pieces of Nestle's European media work including chilled food and cereals in the UK, around 20% of the Italian brief and also the Russian division.

WPP's MindShare already held the confectionery and beverages account in the UK, while ZenithOptimedia, PHD and Media Planning Group picking up individual pieces of business on a country by country basis.

A statement from Nestle's Swiss headquarters said: "The Nestlé Group, after conducting a review of its media operations across its top media markets, has decided to consolidate its entire media planning and buying with Publicis Groupe (ZenithOptimedia) and WPP (Group M).

"Nestlé Japan will, however, continue its longstanding media relationship with Dentsu.

"The review involved media investment in all Nestlé brands, categories and Nestlé companies, as well as joint venture partner Cereal Partners Worldwide."

The fiercely fought pitch has seen senior agency bosses in the UK traversing the globe in recent months between the UK headquarters in Croydon, Switzerland and the US.

The confectionery giant includes the Nescafe, Buitoni, KitKat, Perrier and Ski in its list of major brands.

In North America, the account had been split between ZenithOptimedia in Canada and MindShare, PHD and Universal McCann in the US.

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