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
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
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
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.