The Lowe Group was reeling this week after UDV, one of its key
global clients, fired the agency from its roster and shifted its
Smirnoff, Malibu and Baileys brands to J. Walter Thompson around the
world. The business is worth pounds 13.5 million in the UK alone.
For JWT, the win came in the same week that the network landed the
global Elizabeth Arden account, estimated to be worth pounds 60 million,
but in London lost the pounds 18 million Barclays UK account (see story
UDV’s decision took the Lowe Group by surprise. Tim Lindsay, the
European president of Lowe & Partners, was particularly close to the
He said: ’We are shocked and baffled. We are extremely proud of the work
we’ve done for UDV over the past seven years.’
UDV had been extending its relationship with the Lowe network, handing
it more new business as late as last month, when it moved the Baileys
account in Australia to Lowe Hunt & Partners. The same agency won the
Smirnoff account in January.
Cost is understood to be one of the issues leading to the review, which
has also stripped the Lowe Group’s media arm, Western, of its remaining
UDV planning business. All UDV planning will now be handled by
However, observers are united in saying that it is JWT’s efficient
client service that won it the creative business.
UDV’s chief executive, Jack Keenan, said: ’Lowe has played a central
part in the strong performance of Smirnoff, Baileys and Malibu and we
are grateful for its support.’
JWT has strong links with UDV. Ivan Menezes, the global marketing
director who handed JWT the J&B business 18 months ago, worked with the
agency when he was with Guinness, and Keenan worked with JWT when he was
JWT’s Elizabeth Arden win follows a decision by the brand’s parent,
Unilever, to outsource creative advertising. Previous ads, starring the
model, Amber Valetta, have been developed in-house.
The network hopes that the win will not clash with its Coty-owned Rimmel
client. Elizabeth Arden will be run globally out of New York, while
Rimmel is handled by the London office.