Unilever has announced the outcome of a global review of its media planning and buying agency services and, just as it did in Australia, it's retained the incumbent in New Zealand, with PHD defending its turf.
“The review process was comprehensive and not only took into consideration media pricing, but also the strength of an agency’s strategic planning capability and executional brilliance," said Peter Boone, marketing VP Australasia in a release. "We know we need all of these elements to ensure our brands are best placed to compete in an increasingly cluttered marketplace ... Creative media planning, new ways of content integration, and innovative channel use are all critical to ensure we continue to effectively engage consumers in our market-leading brands, including Lipton, Tresemme, Streets Ice Cream, Rexona, Flora, Dove, and Vaseline."
The review of its estimated US$6 billion plus media account was initiated in early 2012, just two years after the last one and "in line with company policy to evaluate media agency arrangements periodically". And, as is often the case, there was a bit of retention tension, with some questioning the wisdom of the review after the majority of the accounts were retained by incumbents Mindshare (which retained the Australian business), PHD and Initiative.
Unilever Australasia is one of the biggest ad spenders in New Zealand, clocking up around $55 million last year according to Nielsen's AIS figures and placing it fifth behind Progressive, Foodstuffs, Harvey Norman, and The Warehouse.
It spent under $40 million in 2009 to take eighth spot, but increased that spend by almost $20 million in 2010 to take third spot.
Luis Di Como, Unilever's senior vice-president global media, said in a release that it was all about working closely with its agencies in pursuit of the "Crafting Brands for Life" goal, with other goals to "continue leading in the digital marketing space", double the size of the business, lessen its environmental footprint and boost its social impact.
In 2011 Unilever generated annual sales of €46.5 billion (NZ$73 billion).