NEWS: Publicis caught in fight between Asda and United Biscuits

Publicis has been caught in the middle of a row between two of its clients for the second time this year, this time between United Biscuits, which makes Penguin chocolate biscuits, and the supermarket chain, Asda.

Publicis has been caught in the middle of a row between two of its

clients for the second time this year, this time between United

Biscuits, which makes Penguin chocolate biscuits, and the supermarket

chain, Asda.



Last week, United Biscuits went to the High Court in a bid to force Asda

to change the name of its own-label product, Puffin.



The spat is an embarrassment for Publicis, which handles the Asda

account but, in May, also launched TV advertising for Penguin with the

theme, ‘feeling peckish’.



The row comes four months after Publicis was obliged to weather another

major conflict between two of its clients - Asda and Whitehall

Laboratories, who fell out over price-cutting on Whitehall’s Anadin

Paracetamol.



Rick Bendel, the joint chief executive of Publicis, insisted that the

agency had not been drawn into either dispute, neither of which

concerned advertising.



He said: ‘Asda’s dispute with United Biscuits is about packaging and the

one with Whitehall was about pricing. Any agency that handles a large

grocery retailer is going to find there are people who don’t like the

way it behaves.’



Meanwhile, a question mark remains over future arrangements for the

pounds 3 million Anadin account which Publicis lost in September. This

prompted reports that Whitehall was moving Anadin out of Publicis so the

agency would be clear to handle the UK launch of Advil, a branded

painkiller from the US.



There has been some speculation that the Anadin account would find its

way into Publicis’s sister shop, Foote Cone Belding.



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