The Danish dairy co-operative has approached five agencies to pitch for its combined accounts in a winner-takes-all review estimated to be worth up to £25m.
The pitch is part of an ongoing strategic communications review at the UK arm of the dairy company.
Clemmow Hornby Inge, the incumbent on the Anchor account, and DDB London, which holds both the Lurpak and Cravendale accounts, have been invited to defend their respective portions of the business and pitch for the wider business.
Euro RSCG, which handles new product development for Arla on a project basis, has not been approached to pitch for the combined account.
Arla would not comment on the three other agencies involved in the review, which is being handled by ISBA. Arla's media planning and buying business, which is handled by Carat, will not be affected by the review.
The Arla media and communications manager, Arif Bangi, said: "The review is part of a company-wide initiative to drive strategic best practice across the business. We are looking for one key partner to manage our multi-brand portfolio and to propel us forward in what will inevitably be a period of sustained sales growth and new product innovation."
Until recently, Arla has enjoyed long relationships with its advertising agencies. CHI won the £7m Anchor task from WCRS in March 2003 with a brief to raise the New Zealand butter's profile as a traditional, but healthy, product. Before WCRS won the account in 1999, it was with Saatchi & Saatchi for 14 years.
DDB London has held the Lurpak account since 1993. In 1998, it strengthened its hold on the Arla business, winning the Cravendale milk brand.
Last year, the agency ditched Douglas, the animated trombonist who fronted Lurpak's ads for two decades, in favour of ads starring a young Danish woman called Maria, with plots borrowed from the film Chocolat.
DDB's most recent work for the Cravendale brand is based on the strategy "it's so good, the cows want it back". Most recently, DDB London launched Cravendale's Hint of... line of adult-targeted flavoured milk with an ad featuring a menacing herd of red cows.
Cravendale has experienced a 33% growth in its market share this year.
In 2004, Lurpak enjoyed sales of £149m and a 41% share of the butter market, which made it the market leader. Anchor was the second-best-seller, with sales of £69m, equating to a 19% share, according to Mintel figures.
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