McCann-Erickson set for two major reviews

McCann-Erickson has been dealt a double blow with news that key clients Birds Eye and Bacardi Breezer are preparing to review their creative accounts.

Unilever has been talking to agencies about its £10 million Birds Eye UK account, and will conduct a review through the Haystack Group. The winning agency is likely to be given a shot at the £60 million pan-European relaunch brief for Birds Eye.

In addition, Bacardi-Martini is putting its global advertising account for Bacardi Breezer, worth an estimated £50 million, up for review and is believed to be close to finalising a shortlist.

The reviews come at the end of a turbulent year for McCann. It is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for accounting anomalies in the US, and has lost a host of senior staff. Its global chief, Jim Heekin, left in the first half of the year. This was followed by the departure of Ben Langdon, its European chief, in the summer. Its UK chairman, Tamara Ingram, and its European planning chief, Paul Twivy, were among the other senior departures.

McCann's UK relationship with Bacardi ran into trouble at the beginning of the year, when the agency struggled to find a replacement for its long-running "Tom Cat" campaign. Bacardi came close to reviewing the account and got as far as drawing up a shortlist before it was talked into staying.

The Breezer review is not thought to affect McCann's hold on the main Bacardi account.

The news comes as a fresh blow to McCann, and follows the decision last month by the supermarket Somerfield to move its £7 million creative business to M&C Saatchi. The long-standing client Glenfiddich is also in the process of reviewing its £10 million account.

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