JWT and Lowe battle for £5m Yakult

JWT and Lowe are to fight it out for the £5 million UK portion of the Yakult business.

Last week, the health drink manufacturer announced it was parting company with its UK advertising agency, Wieden & Kennedy.

Its decision to drop the agency came as part of an ongoing strategy to consolidate its business across Europe.

Both JWT and Lowe are the company's network agencies of record across the continent, and have subsequently been invited to pitch for the UK business.

The decision to move the account out of W&K and pitch it between the two network agencies marks a U-turn on previous comments made by the company.

Last September, Yakult announced that advertising duties in the UK market would not be affected by the consolidation, because it was focusing on increasing its share of the probiotics market in the face of increased competition from other manufacturers.

Yakult handed the above-the-line account to W&K in June last year. The agency was briefed with relaunching the brand and replacing the "friendly bacteria" idea produced by cdp-travissully with a more product-led campaign. The agency created a campaign highlighting the 70-year history of the product.

Originally from Japan, the health drink was unveiled in the UK in 1996. It was one of the first products to launch into the probiotics and dairy drinks market.