Saatchi & Saatchi has scooped pounds 50 million worth of
pan-European Rothmans business, finally filling the gap left by the
departure of the Gallaher account to Maurice and Charles Saatchi’s
breakaway agency in 1995.
Saatchis’ first task will be the pounds 35 million launch of Rothmans’
Winfield brand of cigarettes across Europe. Winfield is the number one
cigarette in Australia and has already been launched in France, Spain
The brand is launching in the UK this month.
Rothmans has also handed the Saatchi network the European accounts for
Rothmans King Size and for all Dunhill and Cartier cigar-ettes. The
appointment was made without a formal pitch.
The UK launch of Winfield will be supported by a major advertising
campaign focusing on the brand’s laid-back Australian characteristics.
But almost half of Saatchis’ work for Rothmans will be below the line
because tobacco advertising is already illegal in several European
countries, including France.
Tobacco advertisers will have to become increasingly imaginative about
promoting their products over the next few years, with the introduction
of advertising bans across the European Union. Finding a solution to
these problems is part of the agency’s brief.
The EU directive banning tobacco advertising is expected to be pushed
through in the UK in the next Parliamentary session, starting in
Posters will be banned in June 2000, with press ads ending a year
Sponsorship would be outlawed by 2003, but the backing of worldwide
events like Formula One would be allowed to continue until 2006.
Last November, Rothmans announced it would put the Winfield brand on its
Will-iams Formula One team, replacing Rothmans King Size.
Tobacco has been high on Saatchis’ hit-list since it lost the Gallaher
business - which included Silk Cut, one of its biggest creative accounts
- to M&C Saatchi in 1995. Last year, the agency pulled out of a Health
Education Authority pitch-list, sparking speculation that it was about
to pick up a tobacco client.
The appointment is a major consolidation of Rothmans’ advertising, much
of which has, until now, been in-house. Media buying, with Carat, is not
affected by the deal.
No-one at Saatchis was available to comment.