Reckitt Benckiser has ended its relationship with McCann-Erickson
after Interpublic's acquisition of True North created a conflict with
its FCB subsidiary's SC Johnson account.
The parting of ways comes less than two years after the newly merged
pharmaceuticals giant consolidated its entire global account into
McCann-Erickson Worldwide. The $300 million business, spanning 22
markets and five countries, was handled from McCann's London office. The
account is worth £40 million a year in the UK.
"Over the past few weeks, we have been discussing how best to resolve
this and, regretfully, McCann-Erickson and ourselves have jointly agreed
to part company," Reckitt Benckiser's executive vice-president, category
development, Elio Leoni-Sceti, told Campaign.
McCann-Erickson was the dominant network on the Reckitt Benckiser
business after the company reduced its UK roster to two agencies in the
summer, dumping the Havas-owned WCRS from its Vanish account. Roose &
Partners picked up the Vanish business after successfully defending its
pan-European Finish business in a pitch against the two network-backed
The departure of McCann leaves a limited number of established networks
free to pitch for the account. Aside from WCRS, the Havas-owned Euro
RSCG, which resigned Reckitt & Colman's Lemsip business in August 1999,
could prove a contender. Alternatively, Reckitt Benckiser may opt to
extend its unconventional arrangement on Finish, which sees Roose's work
exported from London to other markets in the absence of a traditional
"The decision to part with Reckitt Benckiser was a very difficult one,"
McCann-Erickson WorldGroup's chairman and chief executive, Jim Heekin,
said. "We wish them all the best in finding a successor to us on this