Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Group concludes US$65m regional media pitch

Suntory Beverage & Food Asia called for a regional media pitch in October last year and has handed the account to Initiative.

In this first-ever regional pitch worth more than US$65 million managed by pitch consultant R3, Initiative successfully defended and retained Cerebos in Singapore, while adding key brands under Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Group to its media planning and buying duties.  The appointment also sees Initiative taking on duties in markets such as Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Initiative was also the incumbent in Thailand. Prior to its consolidation, the Japanese group worked with a variety of agencies including Vivaki, Mindshare and local shops in the region.

Neerja Sewak, chief commercial officer of Cerebos, said moving to a single agency structure was the best way forward.

"Going from eight agencies to a single agency will bring synergies, stronger strategic partnership at regional level and better quality of service at market level. My team is looking forward to working with Initiative to create a winning partnership."

Gen Saito, CEO of Cerebos, added the challenge was not just getting all markets to align, but different divisions of Suntory including JVs to join in a Suntory-wide initiative.

Pat Lim, CEO of IPG Mediabrands Singapore, said the team was excited about the expanded remit for Singapore.

"This will allow us greater scalability and deepens our capabilities managing across multiple products."

R3 principal Shu Fen Goh said the process was more complex than we anticipated, but strong leadership and commitment from Cerebos and Suntory resulted in a successful outcome.

The holding company has over 50 brands including Brand's Essence of Chicken, Bird’s Nest, Lucozade and Ribena.