MPG (Media Planning Group), the newly set up media arm of the HAVAS Group is believed to have bagged the prestigious, Rs. 60 Crore, Reckitt Benckiser account in India. The signing on the dotted line is expected to happen very soon.
When contacted Euro officials refused to confirm the development, however sources indicate that one of the senior agency officials is already in the process of hiring people for the account. Our readers would remember that Sandeep Tarkas, is to join MPG as President, South Asia effective January 2003 from MindShare Fulcrum.
It is believed that the two agencies under serious consideration were Zenith and MPG, and in the end MPG walked away with the account, mainly due to its alignment with the client in most of the countries. The other agencies in the foray were Optimum Media Services, Maximise of WPP Media, Media Edge and Optimedia. McCann handled both creative and media for Reckitt Benckiser in India earlier.
Havas communciations is emerging as the favoured communication network of Reckitt Benckiser the world over. Euro RSCG, a HAVAS Group company and sister concern of MPG, won the $ 430 million global creative account for the company along with JWT in April after a four-month review. In India the creative account is worth Rs 50-60 crore.
This win comes close on the heels of MPG bagging the media account for the client in several Latin American markets including Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela and a new central American operation. In Canada, the account recently moved to MAXX Media. Interestingly MAXX Media is the media-buying arm of Vickers and Benson Arnold, which in turn belongs to HAVAS group.
MPG already handles the account in America and most of the key countries in Europe.
Incidentally, Reckitt Benckiser is one of the very few global clients who, according to recent Ad Age survey, increased their ad spend in the year 2001 to $ 743.5 million from $ 644.1 million in 2000 - a jump of 15%.