Starcom advertising & marketing assignments

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Starcom is the biggest media network within Publicis Groupe. The current business is the result of a series of restructurings. Predecessor agency Starcom MediaVest (SMG) was the world's #1 media network. It was originally formed in 2000 from the merger of what were then the separate media arms of Leo Burnett and D'Arcy, becoming a partner within Publicis to stablemate ZenithOptimedia. The Starcom and MediaVest brands were for the most part merged as a single business, although they remained separate in a handful of markets, notably the US, to resolve client conflicts. Starcom was named US Media Agency of the Year in both 2006 and 2007 by Advertising Age, and as Media Agency of the Decade by Adweek in 2009. Such accolades always seem to presage future disaster, and in Starcom's case, performance was rocked over the following years by several major account losses. The first blow was the loss of the massive General Motors account in North America in 2012. Far more dramatic was the quadruple whammy of Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Mondelez and Walmart, all of whom moved their North America business out of the network during 2015 and early 2016. That prompted a complete overhaul. MediaVest was spun off and combined with smaller unit Spark, leaving Starcom as a separate standalone brand. Many of the old network's back office functions have since then been centralised within umbrella entity Publicis Media, although Starcom still operates as a separate brand. COMvergence estimated billings for 2019 of $12.0bn, placing Starcom as the #6 network globally. The network operates in around 100 countries globally. John Sheehy is global brand president.

Capsule checked 29th April 2020

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Adbrands Daily Update 16th Aug 2019: Starcom retained the global Novartis Pharmaceuticals account with the creation of a new dedicated unit, NovartisONE2. Starcom already handled the business, though some assignments were managed by Wavemaker and specialist media agency CMI. These will transfer to the new agency, which combines teams from Starcom and newly acquired Epsilon. "Just as Novartis seeks to reimagine medicine, we too seek to reimagine and transform how we deliver data-driven marketing strategies for our clients," said Starcom CEO John Sheehy. "Rooted in a data-led, digital-first approach, NovartisONE2 unites Starcom and Epsilon to deliver capability that is agile, collaborative and relentlessly focused on driving business outcomes, along with delivering personalized experiences at scale for Novartis' complex and evolving consumers." The account has global billings of around $600m, the bulk of that sum in North America.

Adbrands Daily Update 14th Dec 2018: UM suffered a heavy blow with the loss of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles account across North America. Total billings are well in excess of $1bn. The business moves to Starcom. In a memo to staff, quoted by AdAge, UM CEO Daryl Lee made no attempt to hide his bitter disappointment. "This is a hard decision to accept as we didn't lose this pitch for any of the traditional reasons," he wrote. "We didn't lose it based on our product, our people, our pricing or our proposal for the NAFTA region. All of which we had official feedback were more than competitive. We just had a client that in the end felt that making a change would be good for them."

Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Jun 2017: Procter & Gamble completed the latest round in its global media review. Starcom retained all existing media responsibilities in the UK and also added other assignments previously managed by Mediacom, including press media buying. In German-speaking markets, incumbent Mediacom retained its position, but only as a result of agreeing to establish a dedicated joint venture with independently owned Pilot Media, which had previously handled some digital duties. In Nordic markets, however, Mediacom lost its brief to Carat. Any gains by Publicis Media from the P&G review were offset by the loss of US mobile network Sprint, whose $700m account transfers to indie Horizon Media.

Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Mar 2017: In account assignments, no one can accuse Publicis Media of standing quietly on the sidelines. The group is working hard to rebuild its organic growth metric for the current quarter, after a horrendous Q4 2016. However, headwinds remain. Publicis agencies feature in seven of the ten biggest media moves so far this year, but it's been on the losing side in two of those transfers, making the need to win all the more urgent. This week's major positive was the capture by Starcom of DIY retailer Lowe's $300m US account (from OMD).

Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Jan 2017: There was proof once again that, in the media buying business, today's joy can quickly turn into tomorrow's misery. Publicis Media's end-of-2016 gains of Fiat Chrysler and a greater share of global Mars were all but obliterated by two beginning-of-2017 losses. American Honda reversed a decision made three years ago to move media for the Honda and Acura brands from indie RPA to what is now MediaVest Spark. That $600m account will now move back to RPA. Meanwhile Starcom will surrender media for Coca-Cola Company in China to a newly created unit of Dentsu Aegis Network, to be baptised Dentsu Coca-Cola Community.

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