Initiative Nota Bene, a Johannesburg-based media agency jointly owned by Interpublic Group and Britain’s Tempus Group, has gained the largest media account in South Africa, Unilever.

The $40 million assignment consolidates Unilever’s media planning and buying in the nation, hitherto handled by its four South African brand advertising shops: O&M Rightford, JWT, Lowe Lintas Bull Calvert Pace and HerdBuoys McCann-Erickson.

The business was won after a toe-to-toe contest with WPP’s Mindshare, a non-existent entity in South Africa until the recent merger of the local media departments of J Walter Thompson with Ogilvy & Mather Rightford and its offshoot Optimum Media.

Interpublic’s 80% stake in Initiative Nota Bene is held via Initiative Media Worldwide with the residual twenty percent owned by media strategy and planning specialist Nota Bene, itself recently acquired by London-based Tempus Group, parent of the CIA media agency network. Said Alan Watson, head of consumer understanding and media at Unilever: “We have introduced a way of looking at media which combines media strategy and implementation. This allows for greater consistencies and efficiency in media planning.”

News source: Advertising Age - International Daily