Unilever calls global review of £25m Flora ad account

LONDON - Unilever has called a global review of its £25m Flora margarine advertising account, currently handled by Lowe & Partners.

A shortlist of networks to pitch for the business has yet to emerge, but Lowe is committed to defending the account. Matthew Bull, the chief executive of the London agency, said: “It’s a great opportunity for us, but we have to prove ourselves.”

The pitch incorporates both the main Flora brand and Pro Activ, its cholesterol-lowering variant, which launched in Europe in 2000. This has since been extended into yogurt and milk as Unilever tries to grow its share of the market in the face of competition from rivals such as Benecol.

It is a painful review for Lowe. The agency took on the business when it merged with Ammirati Puris Lintas in 1999. The brand was launched by Lintas in 1964.

However, it is understood that the agency’s relationship with the company has been under pressure for some time. Sources close to the agency said Flora has come close to reviewing twice in the past three years, although on both occasions Lowe managed to defend the account.

The agency has recently completed new advertising for the main Flora brand, but it is unclear whether or not this will air. Its most recent high-profile advertising was for the Pro Activ variant, launched with a campaign starring the Olympic gold-medal winner Sir Steve Redgrave in 2001.

This replaced shortlived work by Lowe, which showed over-enthusiastic employees of Flora thinking of ways to keep fit. The campaign replaced Lintas work starring Richard Wilson.

Although its above-the-line UK presence has been limited since the Redgrave campaign, Unilever has continued to back the Flora brand’s health credentials with its high-profile sponsorship of the Flora London Marathon. It took on the sponsorship in 1996 in a ten-year deal.

The review is being overseen by Unilever Bestfoods’ Andrea Schmidt, who could not be reached for comment. The bulk of Lowe’s Flora business runs in Europe, although the brand has a presence in some Asian markets.

The spread is known in the UK as Flora, while in Germany and The Netherlands and some other European markets it is known as Becel. In France, it goes under the Fruit d’Or moniker.

Unilever owns several yellow fats brands including Bertolli and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which are handled by Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Mother respectively. It also owns the Blue Riband brand in Europe.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content


1 Stop and stare at what these nine brands did for the eclipse

You don't have to shield your eyes from social media during an eclipse - brands from DoubleTree by Hilton to Pizza Hut have found creative ways to capitalise on the total solar eclipse.


1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).