Deal Fizzling

Jun 16, 2003  •  Post A Comment

A nearly done $250 million cross-platform advertising deal between Viacom and OMD may get tossed simply because negotiations started too late.
The pact-in effect, the projected second half of a mammoth $500 million two-part deal that most likely would have been the single-largest deal of this recently concluded upfront-is in jeopardy because it leaves the lead advertiser-PepsiCo-with little lead time to get tune-in and other information onto millions of its soft-drink cans.
Part 1 was a $250 million upfront deal between OMD and MTV Networks. That deal, which was struck in the early days of the upfront, is done. The original intent of both sides was to add this second $250 million component to that first deal across the MTV Networks.The deal, still under negotiation but looking ever more unlikely in its original form, is between Viacom Plus, Viacom’s cross-platform unit, which is headed by Executive VP Lisa McCarthy, and OMD Worldwide, which is headed by Joe Uva, the agency’s president and CEO.
The MTV Networks deal then would have been folded into the larger deal, which would have become a single multiadvertiser “themed” deal led by the PepsiCo brands.
It is understood that approximately 10 OMD clients, including PepsiCo, will be participating in the completed MTV Networks deal; approximately “seven or eight” of those clients would have followed Pepsi into the larger themed deal as well, according to a senior source familiar with the negotiations.
Difficult Moving Parts
But the projected bigger deal always had a lot of difficult “moving parts,” as OMD Managing Director Ray Warren put it to TelevisionWeek, during the early days of upfront negotiations. Now it looks like the biggest deal of the upfront will founder on the most prosaic moving part of all: the printing on a can or a bottle.
Viacom Plus came to OMD on approximately April 1 of this year with a “thread-type idea” that would run across the entire spectrum of Viacom platforms, according to the source. Although no one on either side of the negotiating table realized it, by then-because of how long it takes to print the relevant information on bottles, cans and packages-it was already too late.
The element that the deal is faltering on is similar to the process involved in Pepsi’s Play for a Billion sweepstakes promotion, for which 2 million people have already registered at a Yahoo! site online.