Spillers severs tie with Bates shops

Spillers Petfoods has ended its relationship with Bates Europe, depriving the agency network of the pan-European Winalot business.

Spillers Petfoods has ended its relationship with Bates Europe,

depriving the agency network of the pan-European Winalot business.



The decision by the Dalgety-owned company, which is itself in a state of

flux, is the culmination of a turbulent six months for the lead shop,

Bates Dorland, which has failed to deliver an acceptable campaign as

Spillers rejected long-term brand work in favour of short-term

promotions.



A Spillers statement said: ’Bates Europe and Spillers Petfoods today

announced their decision to cease working together. At this stage,

Spillers has made no decision with regard to future agency arrangements.

This decision in no way undermines the company’s ongoing commitment to

the Winalot brand.’



Spillers, which was trumpeted as a worthy replacement for Mars when

Dorlands won the European lead agency role on the pounds 20 million

dogfood brands in September 1995, leaves the agency at a sensitive

time.



Last month it lost the pounds 33 million pan-European Compaq business to

Ammirati Puris Lintas (Campaign, 6 June) and three weeks ago Dorlands

fired its creative director, Tim Ashton (Campaign, 20 June). The Bates

network is preparing for flotation at the end of this year, following

its demerger from Cordiant.



John Stubbings, who returned to Dorlands as managing director last week,

said: ’(Spillers) spent very little money. The PR downside is

unfortunate but it hasn’t been a significant piece of business for the

past two years.’



This week, Dalgety issued its second profits warning in two months and

is now set to instigate a complete restructure of its petfood business,

which includes the catfood brands, Felix and Arthur’s, as well as

Winalot. Up to 1,000 jobs are expected to go.



Shares tumbled 39.5p to 222p after the statement, in which the company

warned that profits for the year were expected to be about pounds 65

million, against pounds 80 million pencilled in by most City

analysts.



Spillers’ catfoods, which are handled by BMP DDB, and its media planning

and buying, which is handled by the Network, are unaffected by the

decision.



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