-Mars is poised for a full scale centralisation of its entire press buying business and has seen pitches from four media agencies on whether and how a centralisation should be effected.
Mars' roster media agencies, Zenith Media, MediaVest and MediaCom have lined up against New PHD to pitch for the business.
New PHD is not currently a Mars roster agency, but its sister creative agency, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, handles a number of Mars brands, including Snickers and M&Ms.
The review spans all Mars brands, including the confectionery and petfood portfolios, and involves ad spends of around £3 million in national newspapers and magazines.
Mars is understood to see the pitch as a fact-finding exercise, and a full centralisation is not a foregone conclusion. However, agencies are said to have been asked to make a case for pooling all press spend into a single media agency.
While clout is important in press negotiations, the arguments for centralising buying are not as strong as in TV because the press market is more fragmented.
Mars spends over £80 million on advertising each year, making it the UK's third largest ad spender, but its press spend is tiny as a proportion of the total.
Nevertheless, Mars is keen to explore the possibility of streamlining its press buying and driving cost efficiencies. The decision to involve New PHD also raises the prospect of an aggressive new agency gaining a foothold on the Mars roster.
The agencies involved in the review made their presentations at the end of last week and Mars is now considering whether to go ahead with a centralisation, or maintain the status quo.
This article was first published on Campaign