Marriott hands MEC global media business

Marriott has consolidated its global media business with MEC, handing the WPP agency its Asia Pacific remit after a showdown with incumbent ZenithOptimedia.

MEC will lead media planning and buying for all of Marriott's brands worldwide including Marriott Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Rewards.

The account worth in excess of US$80 million, will include digital duties. MEC is said to take over the account from 1 November, 2011.

Incumbents, including Carat (US), Starcom (Latin America), ZenithOptimedia (Asia Pacific) and MEC (EMEA), which worked with the brand on a project basis, were all invited to participate in the review. The list was eventually narrowed down to MEC and ZenithOptimedia.

Susan Thronson, SVP global marketing, said both finalist agencies did an outstanding job during the pitch process.

"Our decision came down to our confidence in the quality of the team, insights on our brands and caliber of their global organization. We believe MEC is the best fit for us," she said in a statement.

Lead creative agencies, mcgarrybowen and Team One, as well as paid search marketing handled by Publicis, were not affected by the review, nor were the agreements with specialised agencies globally.

"We're absolutely delighted to have been selected to work with the Marriott family of brands," Charles Courtier, global CEO of MEC, said.

"This pitch involved an exhaustive analysis of our network capability, our operating principles and the depth and breadth of our most valuable assets - our people. I am proud of our teams right across the world and we can't wait to get to work with our new client partners."

Marriott International retained the services of pitch consultants Joanne Davis Consulting to assist in the agency review process.