The former ZenithOptimedia was split in two in 2016 as part of a wider restructuring of Publicis Groupe's various subsidiary networks. Zenith Media is the shop which, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, more or less set the standard for what a modern media agency does, as one of the first standalone units to provide international media planning, buying, evaluation and co-ordination services independently of a traditional advertising agency. Eventually overtaken by the newly demerged US-based media networks, its merger with Optimedia pushed it back into the top ranks. ZenithOptimedia was the #3 media specialist worldwide in 2014 with billings of $36.23bn (according to Recma). However recent performance has been a little rough, especially in Europe, where the network has suffered a series of key account losses since 2013. The overhaul of all Publicis Groupe media operations in 2016 led to the combination of Optimedia with smaller unit Blue 449, leaving Zenith as a separate standalone brand. Many of the old network's back office functions are being centralised at the same time in a newly created Publicis Media umbrella company.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Aug 2017: There was another blow for Publicis Groupe's media division with the loss of the global account for French healthcare group Sanofi, which had been managed by the old ZenithOptimedia network. WPP's Mindshare becomes the main global agency in all markets except the US and Japan, and WPP will also add selected, as yet undisclosed creative responsibility alongside global incumbents Publicis and Havas. In the US, Havas Media will take over full responsibility for prescription pharmaceuticals, as well as planning for Sanofi's consumer healthcare portfolio, recently boosted by the acquisition of the equivalent division of German company Boehringer Ingelheim. Buying for the OTC business will remain with independent agency KWG, which also hands most creative for that unit. Combined global spend is around E900m.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Dec 2016: Publicis Groupe has changed its plans regarding the rebranding of the recently divided Zenith and Optimedia media banners. The latter was to have been merged with challenger network Blue 449 to create Optimedia Blue 449. However, everyone has now realised that this is quite a mouthful, so the Optimedia name is to be dropped altogether in favour of plain and simple Blue 449. In all other respects, though, nothing changes, with the old Optimedia standalone outposts in the US and elsewhere now taking on the Blue 449 name.
Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Oct 2016: Coty completed its acquisition of Procter & Gamble's specialty beauty brands on Monday this week, creating a new giant in the global market. Brands joining the Coty stable include Covergirl, Max Factor, Clairol and Wella, as well as the Gucci and Hugo Boss fragrance licenses. Coty's annual sales will more than double to around $9bn, and it becomes the global #1 in fragrances, #2 in professional haircare and #3 in colour cosmetics. At the same time, Camillio Pane moves up to global CEO of the enlarged business under chairman Bart Becht. The other big winner from completion is Publicis Group's Zenith Media network which takes over responsibility for all the transferring brands from Starcom, MediaCom and other former incumbents. Creative duties will change in due course. Currently, Grey handles creative for most of the brands affected, with Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett also involved in some markets.
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Jun 2016: In one of the first noticeable fallouts from the US Association of National Advertisers' recent report on non-transparent practices in media buying, the website Business Insider discovered that JP MorganChase has hired K2 and FirmDecisions, the two consultancies who compiled the report, to audit their relationship with ZenithOptimedia, the bank's media agency since 2005. A JP MorganChase spokesperson told Business Insider: "We have launched an audit of Zenith, and have paused new work with them in the meantime. They have been cooperative, and we look forward to completing this quickly." There is no suggestion of any untoward behaviour on Zenith's part; the report advised all advertisers to re-examine their existing contracts.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Apr 2016: In a surprise development, Walmart's UK subsidiary Asda transferred its creative account back to Saatchi & Saatchi without a review, after three years at VCCP. At the same time, Carat was stripped of local media after a 20-year run in favour of Publicis-owned Blue 449, the former Walker Media. The decision follows the arrival of US executive Andy Murray - former founder of Saatchi & Saatchi's shopper marketing division X - to oversee marketing at the hard-pressed business, which recently surrendered its long-held position as #2 supermarket to rival Sainsbury's. Insiders said the coup by Publicis agencies proves the case for that group's move to encourage closer cooperation between its agencies by eliminating silos. According to Brand Republic, Asda's creative and media will be managed from the same office. A source told them, "Asda has bought an integrated proposition. Physical proximity between creative and media teams is what the client is looking for."
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