Hong Kong – Mars South East Asia, Mars Thailand and Wrigley Asia-Pacific (subsidiaries of Mars, Incorporated) announced the selection of Starcom, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), as its media planning and buying agency of record for South Asia covering Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The decision follows a comprehensive agency assessment conducted jointly by Mars and Wrigley to consolidate planning and buying responsibilities for all media within these business segments.

The formal review which included MEC, OMD and Starcom and follows the global merger of Mars and Wrigley, which took effect on October 6, 2008. Prior to the pitch MEC, a GroupM partner within the WPP family, has handled Wrigley’s media buying and planning in South Asia while Omnicom Media Group agencies have handled Mars media planning and buying in the region.

“The decision was not an easy one due to best in class agencies participation in the pitch,” said David Glass, Vice-President Marketing, Wrigley Asia-Pacific. “We appreciate the hard work and professionalism demonstrated by MEC throughout our relationship and wish them the best. The merger of Mars and Wrigley has provided us with a unique opportunity to strengthen our competitive advantage and create additional value for our combined businesses. We believe that by partnering with Starcom we are better positioned to realize these opportunities at the local and at the regional levels”.

“Starcom was appointed based on their superior planning and buying expertise with great insights into our brands and target, as well as the quality of their team which will all be instrumental in delivering Mars Inc. growth objective in the years to come” said Helen Villanueva Marketing Director Mars Thailand Inc. “OMD/PHD is a world class agency which has made great contribution towards the growth of Mars in the region and we value their contributions and working relationship,” said Ng See Meng, Marketing Director Mars Southeast-Asia.

On partnering Mars-Wrigley, Jeffrey Seah, CEO, Southeast Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group, said: “We are honoured to be appointed by Mars-Wrigley in Southeast Asia, which is a key region for the company where many of its brands and products are household names. We hope to deliver on our promise for Mars-Wrigley’s business, to help connect their brands with people in the right spaces. Here’s to the start of a long and fruitful partnership.”

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