Campbell Soup Company has announced that it is to consolidate its international media planning and buying assignments with the global network of Mediaedge:cia (MEC).

MEC is a leading media communications specialist and part of the WPP media investment management company GroupM. Its New York operation has been Campbell's agency of record in the US for media planning since 1999.

The contract is a significant one considering Campbell spent over US$300m in measured media to support its brands in markets around the world in 2005.

"Our decision to consolidate media planning and buying with the MEC global network was driven by our desire to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our media spending globally," said Campbell's global media director Colleen Milway. "While we anticipate achieving economic efficiencies with these moves, we are excited to better leverage the international MEC network to replicate the type of strategic insights and business gains MEC has helped us achieve in the US market. As the media marketplace continues to consolidate, we see the increased potential for global media deals with our top media suppliers."

Charles Courtier, MEC's executive chairman, global, said: "We are extremely delighted that Campbell's has decided to consolidate their media planning and buying with MEC around the world. We are tremendously proud of our relationship, and the work we have provided Campbell in the US and look forward to extending it throughout the network."

Campbell said the new agreement will impact on most of its non-MEC media buying and planning assignments in Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America and Latin America.
 
In Europe, MEC is being assigned media buying and planning assignments in Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden and Finland, while in Asia-Pacific, MEC will pick up Campbell's media planning and buying assignments in Australia, Indonesia and China. MEC will also be handling Campbell's media planning and buying assignment in Mexico, as well as maintaining its existing relationships with Campbell in Russia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Puerto Rico and Guatemala.

However, Campbell said that several existing media buying and planning assignments will not be impacted by the planned consolidation. In Canada, OMD will continue in its media planning and buying role for the US food company, while in the UK and Ireland, ZenithOptimedia will continue its media planning and buying activities until Campbell completes a previously announced strategic review of these activities.
 
Campbell said it expects the transition to be completed in most countries by the beginning of August.