Starcom declines to defend Disney account

The 10-year media partnership comes to an end as the North American account goes into review.

When Disney put its North American media business into review earlier this month, it was widely expected Starcom would defend its decade-long relationship with the brand.

However, in a move that surprised many, Starcom’s US office revealed Friday that it will not be defending its incumbency.

Starcom Canada president Alex Panousis declined to comment on the review, citing company policy, but Starcom US spokesperson Graham Eason Nolan confirmed the decision, offering MiC the company’s official statement:

‘Starcom has declined the invitation to pitch the Disney business in North America. We wish Disney only success in their future partnerships and endeavours.’

In a statement to MiC, Disney’s head office in California said that the review was a routine matter.

‘As part of the normal course of business, the Walt Disney Company periodically reviews its contracts and relationships with outside vendors and agencies. Disney will be conducting an RFP process for a portion of our media planning and buying. The scope of this process includes multiple business units and geographies. The purpose of the RFP is to understand the current market and best practices and to select the best agency partner for our evolving businesses.’

Disney has been a premiere client for Starcom, with high-profile media being a priority for the brand. However, 2010 has been a year of turmoil at Disney’s head office, with a new head of marketing (former Naked Communications exec M.T. Carney) named and heady Hollywood gossip in the wake of consecutive box office disappointments by The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Secretariat.

Starcom reportedly will remain with Disney until a new agency is selected.

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