Microsoft on Friday said that it's shifting its North American media-buying business from Interpublic Group of Cos. to Publicis Groupe SA. The estimate of the value of the contract was $1 billion.
IPG's Universal McCann and Mediabrands groups are keeping the software giant's ad-buying business in 35 countries outside North America. Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group will take over its accounts in the U.S. and Canada and advise the company on its media-buying strategy globally," reports the WSJ.
"IPG had previously handled Microsoft's entire global media account--currently around $1 billion in spending -- and has worked with the company for more than 12 years."
Interpublic's McCann had been Microsoft's primary ad agency for years. Recently, the Softies have been moving more of its accounts to other agencies.
Starcom has a number of high-profile clients for which it does advertising, including Allstate, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Kraft Foods and Walt Disney Co.
Today's win by Starcom isn't for the creative campaign side of the business; it's for media planning and buying. Microsoft isn't disclosing the dollar value of the contract awarded today.
"Universal McCann remains a valuable part of our agency roster," a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. "We've completed our media agency review and have awarded our global media strategy and planning business to Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG). We look forward to partnering with SMG to drive exciting and engaging ways to deliver creative content to our customers in today's dynamic media marketplace. Universal McCann remains a valuable part of our agency roster and will continue to manage our media planning and buying outside of North America."
The software giant spent $614.2 million on advertising in the U.S. last year, up 19% from 2009, according to WPP's Kantar Media.