The largest media planning account review in history is under way with the $2.6 billion US media planning business of General Motors up for grabs.

The brief is to build a new media department for GM, according to insiders. Said one master of understatement: “This is the largest media review on the planet Earth. Maybe there's a larger media review in some solar system, but not this one."

Three agencies are vying for a place in the GM sun: Interpublic Group, fronted by Lou Schultz, CEO of its Initiative Media Worldwide; Bcom3 Group's Starcom MediaVest Group jointly led by Jack Klues, Starcom CEO and its chief operating officer, Bob Brennan; and Carat North America, headed by CEO David Verklin.

Lips of the contestants were tightly sealed as they reportedly toil around the clock to hone their pitches, scheduled for mid-July. A decision is expected six weeks later.

Media buying is specifically excluded from the review and is expected to expected to stay with Interpublic subsidiary GM Mediaworks. Spot buying for GM's regions is set to remain with McCann-Erickson Worldwide's Local Communications.

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily