CLOSE-UP: GLOBAL BRIEF; Y&R takes Colgate worldwide

How will one network cope with the dollars 550m account? Caroline Marshall reports

How will one network cope with the dollars 550m account? Caroline

Marshall reports

Colgate-Palmolive wants to ‘save money and enhance creative

effectiveness’, which is why, last week, it made history as the first

fmcg giant to appoint a single agency worldwide (Campaign, 8 December).

Young and Rubicam is the recipient of Colgate’s dollars 550 million

budget, depriving a stunned Foote Cone and Belding of an estimated

dollars 200 million. Instead of the commission-plus performance system,

Y&R will be paid on a cost and performance basis that means the network

- and, of course, Colgate -will have to perform well for the agency to

make a profit.

Fernan Montero, Y&R’s European chairman, is unstirred by this, not least

because Y&R has already worked efficiently on this basis for Sears and

AT&T. He says: ‘Payment by results will be beneficial to us. If you have

confidence in what you do, you can be assured of reasonable levels of


As clients like IBM and Bayer seem increasingly willing to hand

international business to single agencies, the questions remain: How

global is global? Will Colgate still rely on individual agencies to meet

the needs of local markets?

Montero explains: ‘Of course we can think with a global opportunity in

mind, but you will not see us going back to one strategy, one creative

execution worldwide.’

Montero feels agency networks are key in the globalisation of brands.

This means more than the slavish following of clients around the world

in the traditional sense.

The Y&R appointment will see the network producing ads in Colgate’s

three core product areas - bodycare, fabric care and household surface

care - for 50 countries. But will it make for good advertising?

Montero cites the success of the current Y&R creative structure for

Colgate, which is based around ‘centres of creative excellence’ with

most European work developed in Milan.

Meanwhile at Y&R New York, six people are ‘looking for opportunities to

take strong local ideas around the world’. One example of this was Y&R

London’s 1986 award-winning ‘wall’ commercial, which showed a demolition

ball smashing against a giant set of teeth to remove tartar.

Some observers query whether any agency can handle so many brands for

one company. But there are precedents; the much larger Procter and

Gamble uses nine agencies in the US - but splits the lion’s share of its

dollars 2 billion global spend between Grey, D’Arcy Masius Benton and

Bowles, Saatchi and Saatchi and Leo Burnett.

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