Publicis Loses Media Account as L'Oreal Switches to WPP

How Do Ad Companies Land Accounts Like L'Oreal?
  • Interpublic Group also held some of cosmetic maker's account
  • Publicis earlier lost North American Procter & Gamble work

L’Oreal SA’s North American unit has moved its media planning and buying to WPP Plc, dealing another blow to Publicis Groupe SA, which held a portion of the account and earlier this week lost business with Procter & Gamble Co.

A spokeswoman for Paris-based L’Oreal confirmed the change, which was first reported by the trade journal Adweek. She declined to comment on whether the maker of Maybelline makeup planned to alter its advertising partners in other regions. A representative for Publicis said the loss, which was for digital media buying, represents less than 0.1 percent of the company’s total revenue.

The move places all of L’Oreal’s media buying and planning under WPP, after formerly being shared among WPP, Publicis and Interpublic Group of Cos., which handed TV and print media buying, according to Adweek.

L’Oreal is the ninth-biggest U.S. advertiser, with more than $2 billion in total ad spending, according to research from Ad Age. The shift was expected after a former WPP executive recently joined L’Oreal to lead a review of the company’s media buying and planning, analysts at Kepler Cheuvreux said in a note, adding that the L’Oreal account is worth about $60 million in fees.

Publicis shares were trading 0.9 percent lower at 58.42 euros as of 10:40 a.m. in Paris, giving the company a market valuation of 13 billion euros ($14.2 billion). WPP shares rose 0.7 percent in London to 1,512 pence.

Representatives for Interpublic couldn’t immediately be reached outside of office hours in New York.

Publicis this week lost P&G as a media client in North America when the consumer-goods giant moved most of its business in the region to U.S. rival Omnicom Group Inc. Publicis said shortly after it will still handle media buying for P&G in 42 other markets and that the company remained one of its biggest clients.

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