EDITORIAL: Ferrero is unlikely to change its ways

When the desperate, yet innocent, Bridget Jones began dating her publisher boss, played by Hugh Grant, everybody knew it wouldn't work out. Nice girls too often think they can change their roguish boyfriends.

And so it seems is the case with Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB and Ferrero, who parted ways last week.

The temptation for agencies is huge; Ferrero advertising is famous for being awful, so agencies jump to turn that reputation on its head. But it hasn't happened so far. There's been Leagas Delaney's work for Kinder, WCRS's for Kinder Bueno and Tic Tac and Banks Hoggins' for Tic Tac and Ferrero Rocher. All fall into the credible effort category more easily than any truly original winning category. Yet the fact remains that the most memorable advertising for any of Ferrero's portfolio has been "the ambassador's party", dreamed up by Ferrero's in-house agency, Publi Regia, long before the company flirted with a London roster.

The problem for agencies is that "the ambassador's party

sold chocolate.

Although the ad's cultish status may have been accidental, Ferrero can always wave that ad, with its cheap feel and low production values, at its UK roster and ask why it should spend on an expensive ad that takes creative risks. After all, Publi Regia is always on hand to produce another epic piece of populist advertising.

Ferrero's run-of-the-mill advertising, on which it spends an appetite-whetting $600 million a year internationally, has built it into the fourth-biggest confectioner in the world.

The company does appear to treat its roster of UK agencies with a degree of disdain - reports of playing one agency off against another and lean remuneration are rife - but this is a grown-up business where agency heads should be able to deal with that. Ferrero, like Bridget Jones' boss, is a leopard unwilling to change its spots. But unlike the lonely Hugh Grant character, Ferrero doesn't need to.