Publicis has been caught in the middle of a row between two of its
clients for the second time this year, this time between United
Biscuits, which makes Penguin chocolate biscuits, and the supermarket
Last week, United Biscuits went to the High Court in a bid to force Asda
to change the name of its own-label product, Puffin.
The spat is an embarrassment for Publicis, which handles the Asda
account but, in May, also launched TV advertising for Penguin with the
theme, ‘feeling peckish’.
The row comes four months after Publicis was obliged to weather another
major conflict between two of its clients - Asda and Whitehall
Laboratories, who fell out over price-cutting on Whitehall’s Anadin
Rick Bendel, the joint chief executive of Publicis, insisted that the
agency had not been drawn into either dispute, neither of which
He said: ‘Asda’s dispute with United Biscuits is about packaging and the
one with Whitehall was about pricing. Any agency that handles a large
grocery retailer is going to find there are people who don’t like the
way it behaves.’
Meanwhile, a question mark remains over future arrangements for the
pounds 3 million Anadin account which Publicis lost in September. This
prompted reports that Whitehall was moving Anadin out of Publicis so the
agency would be clear to handle the UK launch of Advil, a branded
painkiller from the US.
There has been some speculation that the Anadin account would find its
way into Publicis’s sister shop, Foote Cone Belding.