Mars to hand AMV Whiskas account

By JOHN TYLEE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 17 December 1999 12:00AM

Mars is about to switch its pounds 10 million Whiskas catfood account to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO from M&C Saatchi in a realignment being planned by the US-based giant.

Mars is about to switch its pounds 10 million Whiskas catfood

account to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO from M&C Saatchi in a realignment

being planned by the US-based giant.



Industry sources say the switch is being delayed only while Mars chiefs

decide what assignment M&C Saatchi will receive as compensation.



Andrew Robertson, AMV’s chief executive, refused to answer any questions

about an impending change. But insiders say the move would make sense.

Britain is the only major European market where Whiskas is not handled

by BBDO, whose work has helped halt a ten-year sales decline for the

brand.



Nevertheless, the work by M&C Saatchi for Whiskas is highly regarded by

Mars, which has had it adapted for use in the US.



’Although it would make sense to move Whiskas out of M&C Saatchi, Mars

holds the agency in very high regard,’ an industry source commented,

adding: ’The company is honourable and likes long-term relationships. It

would not allow the agency to go away empty-handed.’



The award of the Whiskas business to M&C Saatchi in May 1996 gave

Maurice Saatchi a place back on the Mars roster and reaffirmed the

company’s faith in him after his ousting by the then Saatchi & Saatchi

group.



Since then, the agency’s award-winning work on the brand has been hailed

as mould-breaking advertising in its sector despite criticisms that it

was not giving Whiskas a distinctive personality.



At the start of this year, the agency succeeded in winning considerable

media coverage for Whiskas by producing what it claimed was the first TV

commercial to ’talk’ to cats in their own language.



Pedigree Masterfoods, the Mars subsidiary that makes Whiskas, this week

denied any knowledge of a change.



The news has revived rumours that M&C Saatchi could take over from

D’Arcy on the pounds 10 million task of reviving the flagging fortunes

of the Mars bar in the UK.



With daily sales of three million, Mars bar keeps its place behind

Nestle Rowntree’s Kit Kat as the UK’s second biggest-selling

confectionery brand. But the product is being perceived as increasingly

old-fashioned and there is concern that its promotion as virtually a

’replacement meal’ is out of touch in the days of health-conscious

snacking.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

X

You must log in to use Clip & Save

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Additional Information

Campaign Jobs