P&G Puts $2.5bn US Media Biz Into Play; Sells Sunny-D

05 April 2004

Procter & Gamble, the globe's top-spending advertiser, announced it is reorganizing and expanding its US media planning duties. At the same time, the fmcg titan is putting the business -- estimated annual value northward of $2.5 billion (€2.06bn; £1.35bn) -- up for review.

The enlarged assignment will not only include traditional media (TV, radio, press, magazine, billboards etc); it will also embrace all other methods of marketing communication from sponsorship and PR via direct marketing to online.

The review covers P&G' entire brand portfolio, says P&G spokeswoman Robyn Schroeder. Incumbent shops MediaCom (Grey Global Group) and Starcom MediaVest (Publicis Groupe) will participate in the appraisal, as will "a select number" of non-roster agencies.

It is not known if it is intended to consolidate the business within a single agency, although most observers believe this is an unlikely scenario. Crunch date is July when the final decision is expected.

• Separately: P&G has at last found a buyer for its lackluster Sunny Delight orange concoction and Punica tea and fruit drinks brands -- eleven months after announcing they were up for grabs.

The buyer is private equity firm, Boston-headquartered J W Childs Associates. It will operate the business as a freestanding entity named the Sunny Delight Beverages Company with its base in Cincinnati from where it will operate in eight countries across North America and Europe.

Sunny Delight, a market-research spawned brand, initially enjoyed a runaway success. But it quickly fell foul of consumer and parent groups, not only for its high sugar and low fruit content (just 5%), but because of its unfortunate tendency to turn the complexions of over-indulgent kids bright orange in hue.

Despite this, J W Childs' founding partner John Childs declared himself: "Extremely happy to be acquiring two leading juice-based drinks in Sunny D and Punica. Both brands are growing, with good advertising, strong prospects and a fantastic organisation."

The lips of both parties remained firmly zipped as to amount of cash changing hands.

Data sourced from: New York Times and Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff