MCBD beats Saatchis to £5m Benecol task

Saatchi & Saatchi has lost the £3.5 million Benecol account

for which it created the campaign featuring Carol Vorderman as the

brand's spokeswoman.

Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy won the pitch, which was co-ordinated by

the AAR. The account move is expected to bring Vorderman's role in the

campaign to an end, but MCBD would not comment on the subject.

Johnson & Johnson is expected to back the new creative treatment with a

£5 million spend.

Jeremy Miles, the chairman of MCBD, said: "The whole pitch process has

been collaborative and enjoyable. We are thrilled with the result and

are 100 per cent committed to playing our part in the success of the

Benecol brand."

Saatchis launched the spread, which claims to reduce cholesterol levels,

at the beginning of 1999. It cast Vorderman as the brand's spokeswoman,

hoping to capitalise on her image as an intelligent woman who could

explain the scientific claims made by Benecol.

Subsequent advertising has shown Vorderman interviewing elderly people

about Benecol-branded yogurts.

The brand's review is said to have been sparked by the client's

dissatisfaction with the creative treatment given to the brand.

Benecol beat Unilever's Flora Pro-Activ to the market by several months,

but it faces stiff competition from the more established Flora brand


Earlier this year, Unilever launched a Flora Pro-Activ campaign that

starred the Olympic rower Steve Redgrave. The work was created by Lowe


The move is a blow to Saatchis, which lost its Anchor butter account in

1999 - owing, in part, to its Benecol appointment. The agency's Benecol

account director, Scott Morrison, left Saatchis last week to join Wieden

& Kennedy, where he will run the Nike business.

The appointment of MCBD gives it a coveted place on the Johnson &

Johnson roster, which is shared by Saatchis, Lowe Lintas and BMP DDB.

The departure of Benecol leaves Saatchis with brands such as Daktarin,

Imodium, Liviston and Pepcid AC.