Mars has severed a key link with D'Arcy by switching its £24
million Uncle Ben's rice pan-European account into BBDO.
The move is seen as further evidence of a deteriorating relationship
between the multinational advertiser and one of its three core European
BBDO won the account in a pitch with D'Arcy and Grey Worldwide, all of
whom are competing for the Mars Bar business. Final pitches are expected
to take place in three weeks' time.
The pitch verdict means that the Uncle Ben's pan-European business will
move out of D'Arcy in Paris and into the FHV/BBDO agency in
The choice of lead agency is in line with BBDO's policy of spreading its
Mars business around its European offices.
Although Mars supports Uncle Ben's in the UK with a £6.5 million
spend, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO took no part in the pitch. Earlier this
year, the agency picked up the £9 million Campbell's soup and
The change in agency arrangements does not affect the Dolmio sauces,
pasta and frozen meals business - also manufactured by Mars' Pedigree
Masterfoods - which will remain with the D'Arcy agency in London along
with the Seeds of Change organic foods account.
The relationship between Mars and D'Arcy in Europe has been described as
"very fragile" by sources. Mars is not believed to be displeased with
the Uncle Ben's creative work but with the time it took to produce the