Lack of an office in Morocco has temporarily cost Interpublic’s Initiative Media Worldwide the consolidated $100 million Unilever media planning/buying account for the Middle East/North Africa region.

Initiative now sees fellow finalist for the business, WPP-owned rival MindShare, waltz off with the lion’s share of the account, valued at around $75m. Initiative holds onto around $25m with the proviso that it opens an office in Marrakech, Morocco.

For the time being, MindShare’s Dubai office will handle Unilever's pan-Arab account (across Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen and Oman), as well as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Initiative is responsible for Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

The final outcome will depend on the rivals’ respective performance over the year ahead. Admits Unilever’s global media director Alan Rutherford: “There isn't a consistent solution at the moment. We've chosen the right solution for the circumstances at this time, with an eye to the future and how both develop and develop their relationship with us.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff