IPG conflict leads Reckitt to dump McCann

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

agencies.



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

network structure.



"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

account."



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