EDITORIAL: Twix loss will force soul searching at D’Arcy HQ

By DOMINIC MILLS, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 10 March 2000 12:00AM

Alarm bells will be ringing loudly at offices around the D’Arcy network after Mars’s decision to shift the pounds 30 million Twix account into Grey.

Alarm bells will be ringing loudly at offices around the D’Arcy

network after Mars’s decision to shift the pounds 30 million Twix

account into Grey.



Not so much because of the scale of the loss - although that is serious

enough - but more because of what it says about the long-term

relationship between D’Arcy and one of its quintessential clients.



Creatively conservative, never promiscuous, passionate about its

products and committed to long-term strategic partnerships, Mars has a

reputation as an advertiser that changes agencies only after giving much

warning and when it feels it has no alternative.



The fact that the company has chosen to strip D’Arcy of the Twix brand

in all markets except Asia Pacific not only underlines the depth of its

dissatisfaction but raises the question of whether the kind of clients

D’Arcy has traditionally been best equipped to serve still want to buy

what it has to offer.



More seriously, the Twix business is moving to Grey, a network seemingly

cast from the same mould as D’Arcy but which, in London at least, is

making strenuous efforts to move its bedrock of conservative clients -

like Mars and Procter & Gamble - slowly up through the creative

gears.



Indeed, the win plants a significant feather in the cap of Grey’s

executive creative director, Tim Mellors, who marshalled teams from

Europe and the US to win the business and whose appointment as the

London agency’s creative catalyst has begun paying valuable

dividends.



The loss of Twix underlines a fundamental problem at D’Arcy. There’s

very little wrong with the brand, which, like all confectionery

products, has a simple proposition needing famous advertising to bring

it to life.



The big question is whether or not D’Arcy, heavily orientated towards

client service rather than whizz-bang creativity, can reinvent itself to

produce such work. Mars and P&G are among growing numbers of big clients

wishing to leap aboard the creative train that will drive their

growth.



Mars’s decision shows how essential it is for D’Arcy to reinvest and

reconfigure if it is not to be left on the platform.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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