General Mills plots Haagen-Dazs rejig

Haagen-Dazs, the luxury ice-cream brand owned by Pillsbury, is

preparing to review its £20 million pan-European advertising


The review comes as General Mills is poised to buy Pillsbury and its

assets from Diageo. The manufacturer is said to be considering the

incumbent, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, Saatchi & Saatchi, Rainey Kelly

Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and another agency, as yet undisclosed, for the

account, which is worth £6 million in the UK. However, it is not

known if Euro RSCG, which won the business three years ago, will


Meetings with shortlisted networks are expected by the end of the


The desire to review is said to have come from General Mills. The

company sees the Haagen-Dazs brand as too direct a rival to Ben &

Jerry's, which is handled by Black Rocket Euro RSCG, a Euro RSCG network

agency in San Francisco.

James Moseley, Pillsbury UK's managing director, denied that he had

approached agencies. However, he added: "At some point we are likely to

become part of General Mills. That may affect our agency situation."

The news comes shortly after Euro RSCG unveiled a high profile, £6.5 million campaign for Haagen-Dazs, which plays on New Age humour and

introduces the strapline: "Pleasure is the path to joy." It features a

group of people on a spiritual retreat who learn to experience joy by

eating Haagen-Dazs ice-cream, under the guidance of a sensologist.

Euro RSCG won the account in 1998. Previously it had been handled by

Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which produced ground-breaking and controversial

advertising for the brand throughout the 90s. The work, which presented

the ice-cream as a seduction tool, featured entwined couples indulgently

feeding the ice-cream to each other.

The account was handed to Euro RSCG in a bid to co-ordinate its

marketing strategy across Europe into a unified, easily recognised brand


However, according to Moseley, Pillsbury is in the process of

decentralising the Haagen-Dazs account out of London into individual

Euro RSCG offices in Europe. The New Age campaign is running in the UK

only, unlike the previous "100 per cent perfect" campaign.

Media on the account, which is handled by Carat, will not be affected by

the review. Carat works across the range of Pillsbury brands.

The acquisition of Pillsbury will give General Mills ownership of the

Green Giant vegetable range, the Jus-Rol range and Old El Paso Mexican

food. Leo Burnett is the company's principal agency in the UK.

The news comes as Ben & Jerry's reviews its UK ad account. The company

is drawing up a shortlist through the AAR.