Kraft Heinz puts $600 million global media account in review

Former AB InBev CMO Miguel Patricio joined the food marketer as chief exec last summer.

Kraft Heinz has issued an RFP for its $600 million global media business. 

Nearly all of the major holding companies are expected to compete in the pitch, including WPP, Omnicom, Publicis and Dentsu, while Havas and Interpublic are said to be holding out, Campaign US has learned.

"Our contract with Starcom Worldwide is expiring this year, so Kraft Heinz is exploring opportunities for its global media planning and buying operations to ensure we are positioned for success in 2021 and beyond," said a Kraft Heinz spokesperson. 

Publicis’ Starcom was awarded the business five years ago when Kraft and Heinz merged and consolidated media under the combined company. Starcom representatives said they have no comment on the current Kraft Heinz RFP. 

At the moment, the review is said to be running as planned, regardless of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Several industry sources have told Campaign US that many major pitches are still being conducted as of now, but a number of smaller reviews and projects have been taken off the table due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last month, CEO Miguel Patricio said on the company’s Q4 earnings call that he plans on cutting Kraft Heinz’s agency relationships in half this year, while simultaneously increasing media spend by 30 percent. The plan to invest more in marketing followed a difficult financial year for the CPG giant, which saw a 2.7 percent drop in U.S. sales in 2019. 

On the earnings call, Patricio, who took the helm last July after serving as CMO of AB Inbev, said: "2019 was a very difficult year for Kraft Heinz. It was also a period of new understanding. Knowing you have problems is the first step."

People close to the matter say that MediaSense, which recently handled the global Diageo media review, is managing the Kraft Heinz pitch. MediaSense representatives would not comment on the matter. 

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