The Madison-Mediacom combine has been named the communication planning and buying AOR for P&G in India. P&G has confirmed the win.
Sumeet Vohra, MD, P&G India said, “"In November 2007, as part of standard corporate requirement to ensure that the best agency resources are working on the business, P&G India undertook a review of its media agencies. We are happy to share that based on the results of the evaluation, P&G India has decided to award its Communication Planning and Buying AOR to the Madison Mediacom Combine effective July 1, 2008."
At the same time, Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison Media Group has acquired a majority stake in Mediacom, which is a Group M entity. In a press statement, Madison Media has stated that Sam Balsara has bought into the WPP agency and that the holding company would not be involved with managing the company. The statement also reiterates that Divya Gururaj would continue in her role as Managing Director, Mediacom and would report to Balsara, who would be the chairman of the company.
"Both Madison and Mediacom have unique skills, which when presented together helped us land one of the best accounts in the country," said Divya Gururaj, MD, Mediacom India.
Madison’s Balsara was also not available for comment. On the implications of the move for Unilever, Dnyanadha Chaudhari, VP, Media Services, Unilever when contacted by Campaign India said that she was aware of the account movement but would prefer not to comment.
When contacted, Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, Group M said, “From a Group M standpoint, I can only say that we support the formation of the independent JV between Madison and Mediacom.”
Sakhuja said that only WPP would be able to provide details of the equity restructuring. Group M, Mediacom's former parent, will have no say in the business, according to Gururaj, which in a way, will assuage Unilever's fears of a WPP agency handling its arch rival's media duties. Group M's Mindshare is in charge of HUL's AOR account. "We had just a dotted line reporting to Group M which no longer exists," said Gururaj.
It may be recalled that post the P&G media review that got underway sometime back, media reports had speculated on a Madison Mediacom alliance after news of the two agencies pitching together for the P&G business got out. "While P&G was impressed with Mediacom's planning expertise, it wanted to retain Madison as its buying agency," said a source close to the pitch. While Madison was handling the FMCG major's buying account, planning was split between Mediacom and Starcom. Mediacom was not a Group M entity at the time P&G had originally awarded them the business. The account size is estimated at about Rs 250 to 300 crore and the review has taken place after a gap of eight years.