OMD the Loser in $150M Media Review

NEW YORK, January 27, 2006 -- Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. is consolidating its $150 million U.S. media planning and buying business with WPP Group’s MindShare, according to executives familiar with the matter.

The move follows a review involving roster shops Omnicom Group’s OMD and WPP’s Mediacom, these executives said. The consolidation comes after Wrigley’s acquisition of Kraft Foods brands Life Savers, Creme Savers and Altoids.

The agencies couldn’t be reached for comment. Wrigley Senior Marketing Director Paul Chibe said MindShare will help "build our business through creative and efficient media solutions."

Wrigley acquisitions
Wrigley -- under the more risk-taking leadership of CEO William Wrigley, Jr. -- last year closed on the purchase of Life Savers and Altoids from Kraft Foods for $1.48 billion.

In late September, Wrigley tapped roster shop, Omnicom’s BBDO, Chicago, to handle the $8 million Life Savers and Creme Savers account, previously handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote Cone & Belding, choosing the agency over Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, which still handles Altoids.

Analysts unconvinced
The expensive acquisition has been questioned by analysts and observers as Altoids especially has been hard hit by the successes Hershey Co. has enjoyed with its Ice Breakers and Breathsavers mints in recent months.

According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Wrigley spent $124 million in measured media on its gum and mint brands in 2004, while Kraft put $8 million against Life Savers and $13 million against Altoids during the same period.