Lever Faberge has fired Ogilvy & Mather from its estimated pounds 25 million pan-European Impulse account and has handed the business to Bartle Bogle Hegarty, the agency behind Lever's successful Lynx advertising.
O&M's five-year hold on the account came to an end on Tuesday morning, when Lever informed the agency that it was looking elsewhere in a bid to transform sales of the Unilever-owned brand. O&M will continue to handle advertising for the brand in non-European markets.
Lever backed Impulse with a pounds 4 million advertising spend last year. However, a spokeswoman confirmed that the UK adspend would rise to pounds 10 million this year to support product innovations.
The move follows the arrival of the former Van den Bergh business group director, Jacqui Davies, as the head of Lever's UK marketing arm in November last year. O&M had failed to alter significantly a decline in the brand's popularity that was cited as the major reason for moving the account from Ammirati Puris Lintas in early 1996.
O&M ousted APL after a four-month pitch. The agency produced an updated reworking of APL's iconic 'men can't help acting on impulse' campaign, which transposed the soft-focus classic to more realistic modern settings.
However, the advertising was unable to revitalise the fragrance in response to the arrival of products such as Lever's Dove brand extensions in 1999.
The relationship between O&M and Lever is believed to have been further weakened by the departure of the agency's former managing director, Richard Pinder, in March last year. Pinder, who departed owing to internal problems at the agency, worked closely with senior clients on several of O&M's Unilever accounts.
BBH itself elbowed SP Lintas aside to win the account for the umbrella Lynx brand in 1995. Its 'Lynx Effect' work subsequently won acclaim, picking up a gold at Cannes last year.
Lynx sales have risen considerably on the back of BBH's work and the agency was rewarded with the task of launching the Lynx shaving system last year.
Claydon Heeley Jones Mason, which holds the direct marketing account for both Impulse and Lynx, is not affected by the agency switch. The position of Initiative Media, which handles planning and buying for the two brands, is also unchanged.
BBH refused to comment on its win.