D'Arcy loses Mars Bar to Grey after 40 years

D'Arcy, which this week lost its pan-European Mars Bar creative

account to Grey, has axed 14 jobs from its London agency.



The group insists the redundancies are not linked to the loss of the

account despite a further weakening of the relationship with one of its

bedrock clients.



The redundancies come from all agency departments and include some

account directors. "It's very disappointing that we've had to do this,"

Barry Cook, D'Arcy's managing director, said. "But we have to recognise

that there is a lot of financial insecurity as we go into 2002."



The account switch means that Grey Worldwide's London office will assume

lead status on the Mars business across Europe, estimated to be worth

£10 million, with a brief to re-energise the brand.



The Mars Bar became popular following its introduction in 1933 but its

positioning as a heavy and nutritional snack has been eroded by

intensified competition and changed eating habits. Producing a

pan-European campaign has proved difficult, however, as the brand's

"lifecycle" varies between countries.



D'Arcy's loss of Mars Bar is a second blow for the group, which lost the

Mars-owned, £24 million pan-European Uncle Ben's rice business to

BBDO earlier this year.



The decision to change agency, which was said by Mars to be "part of a

regular brand review", follows a pitch between the multinational's three

roster networks -D'Arcy, Grey and BBDO.



It ends D'Arcy's 40-year tenure of the Mars Bar pan-European account,

for which it devised the famous line "A Mars a day helps you work, rest

and play" in the 70s.



Grey's pitch team comprised Tim Mellors, the chairman and creative

director of the London agency, Chris King, the global account director

on Mars confectionery, the senior planner Sarah Schofield and the

creative group head, Paul Pickersgill. "We're absolutely delighted,"

Steve Richards, Grey's managing director, said.



The win will be welcome at Grey, which this week posted a 70 per cent

drop in third-quarter earnings because of weak economic conditions.