MetLife Goes Into Play

MetLife has launched a review of creative and media duties on its consumer-directed advertising, sources said. Major media spending on the brand exceeded $56 million last year, according to Nielsen.

The New York-based client has notified the incumbents — WPP Group units Young & Rubicam and Mediaedge:cia — and has begun contacting outside agencies about the business, said sources.

MetLife, which uses Peanuts character Snoopy as part of its logo, offers life insurance, mutual funds and investment services. Y&R has worked on the brand for decades.

Source Martin in New York is managing the review. The consultancy did not return calls, and a client representative declined to comment.

The review does not include digital duties now at WPP’s Neo@Ogilvy in New York nor business-to-business efforts, which are handled by independent Bernstein-Rein in Kansas City, said sources. Bernstein-Rein landed that account last year after a review.

Last year’s media spending total on the brand was down from the previous three years. MetLife spent more than $70 million on ads in 2006, about $65 million in ’07 and nearly $63 million in ’08, per Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.