Grey loses £50m Pedigree account

Masterfoods is set to move its estimated £50 million pan-European Pedigree Chum petfood account out of Grey Worldwide as part of a reshuffle of its key brands between its roster networks.

Grey is understood to be on six months' notice for the business which, as one of the network's biggest accounts, makes up a substantial share of its European income. Masterfoods spends £11 million on Pedigree in the UK alone.

The network is working on "re-evaluating above-the-line creative for the brand, although it is thought it will cease to work on the business following the notice period. The business is likely to be absorbed into one of Masterfoods' other roster networks, BBDO or TBWA.

Masterfoods is said to be unhappy with the performance of the Pedigree Chum brand. Grey, which has handled the account since 1995, inherited the long-running testimonial ads starring dog breeders as part of Pedigree's proposition as a healthy choice. However, a suitable successor to the "top breeders recommend campaign has so far failed to materialise.

The account comes up for review just weeks after the departure of Anne Francke, Masterfood's top European petcare marketer, who held ultimate responsibility for the brand.

The review also follows Masterfoods' appointment of TBWA as its third global roster network and the axing of its long-time partner, D'Arcy, from the list. TBWA/Chiat/Day won the Whiskas, Uncle Ben's and Seeds of Change brands from D'Arcy in the US in May.

TBWA went on to resign its Cadbury accounts last month in preparation for a flood of Masterfood business. It was handed the Chappie, Pal and Trill petfoods brands, and is thought to be in pole position to receive the global Whiskas account, which Masterfoods is planning to shift from BBDO by the end of this year.

Masterfoods divides its petfood brands into three core areas: economy; premium; and health, into which the Pedigree and Whiskas brands fall.

The company has spearheaded a number of category innovations, such as pet insurance and an oral petcare range, Pedigree Denta.

A Masterfoods' spokeswoman denied that Grey was on six months' notice and that there were plans to move the business. Grey refused to comment as Campaign went to press.

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