Unilever has realigned its European and Asian laundry cleaning
roster, dropping Ogilvy & Mather and splitting the pounds 160 million
business between its two other agencies, Ammirati Puris Lintas and J.
O&M, which had a 10 per cent stake of the business, loses an estimated
pounds 16 million in global billings. However, the realignment has
little impact in the UK where the agency loses only the pounds 800,000
APL now holds 60 per cent of the business with JWT taking a 40 per cent
stake. Unilever said the switch was designed to ’derive increased
benefits of focus and scale and maximise the value derived from current
centres of expertise’. The realignment does not affect the US, where O&M
keeps the Surf account.
A spokesman added that the move should not reflect on O&M which he said
had ’made excellent contributions in the past’. He commented: ’O&M will
continue to provide valued service to Unilever’s business in other
categories such as skincare, personal wash, deodorant and fabric
The move is the responsibility of Theo Rodrigues, Unilever’s senior
vice-president for laundry.
Decisions on realigning other brands will be taken in local markets.
The brands include Persil, Surf, Omo, Drive and Skip.
Lionel Godfrey, O&M’s worldwide client services director on Unilever,
said: ’Radion spent pounds 800,000 on a poster campaign in 1997. To all
intents and purposes, it has been dormant as a brand.
This is a tidying-up process by Unilever in a category where we had a
very small share of the business. Sometimes such realignments work in
our favour and sometimes they don’t.’
The realignment is the latest in a series of blows for Ogilvy & Mather,
which last month lost lead agency status on the Ford account to Young &
Rubicam, and earlier in the year lost its prestigious Guinness account.