M&C Saatchi’s hold on the prized pounds 10 million Whiskas account
was in question this week as speculation mounted that Pedigree Petfoods
was preparing to hand the business to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.
The BBDO network handles the brand in central and western Europe, where
its latest campaign has helped reverse a ten-year sales decline.
Sources close to Mars, which owns Pedigree, indicated plans were now
under way to move Whiskas in the UK to Abbott Mead later this year.
A Pedigree spokesman denied the move and BBDO staff are unable to
comment on Mars business.
If the account switches to Abbott Mead, M&C Saatchi will expect to
receive another piece of Mars business as compensation.
Mars pulled its business out of the Cordiant Group when Maurice Saatchi
was ousted by shareholders in January 1995. The company cast a very
public vote of confidence in Saatchi by handing the Whiskas account to
his new agency in May 1996.