The outcome of the pitch, which launched in October last year and was managed by pitch consultant R3, reduces a roster of eight agencies to one and marks the first time the consumer food company has sought to consolidate its media roster.
Cerebos, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings, led the regional media pitch jointly for Cerebos, Brands and Suntory Beverage & Food Asia, with the business estimated to be worth more than US$65 million.
Initiative was the incumbent in some of the countries, namely the brand's key market of Thailand, where it has held the business for nearly 30 years. The other incumbent market was Singapore.
Prior to its consolidation, the Japanese group worked with a variety of agencies including Vivaki, Mindshare and local shops.
R3 principal Shu Fen Goh noted that the process was more complex than anticipated. “But strong leadership and commitment from Cerebos and Suntory top management got in to a successful outcome,” she added.
Gen Saito, CEO of Cerebos, said the challenge was not just getting all markets to align, but different divisions of Suntory including JVs to join in a Suntory-wide initiative.
Neerja Sewak, regional chief commercial officer of Cerebos, said it is Initiative’s “passion and deep relationship in our biggest market that gives them the edge.”
“Going from eight agencies to a single agency will bring synergies, stronger strategic partnership at the regional level and better quality of service at the market level,” she added. “My team is looking forward to working with Initiative to create a winning partnership.”
Will Anstee, chief growth officer of IPG Mediabrands, said the agency has “big ambitions” for Cerebos, amidst a context of a media industry moving at fluid and accelerated pace.