D'Arcy loses out to BBDO as Uncle Ben's account moves

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

networks.



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

Amsterdam.



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

sauces business.



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

ads.



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