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The South Americans are coming, Santo nicks Milkybar from JWT

Fresh from Brazil’s Almap BBDO picking up the lion’s share of gongs at Cannes, now the Santo agency from Buenos Aires has invaded Knightsbridge Green in London by pinching the Nestle Milkybar business from WPP’s JWT.

Santo, which handles some of Coca-Cola and Vodafone in Latin America, is backed by WPP, which will be some consolation for Sir Martin Sorrell. As is Johnny Hornby’s CHI agency which won Nestle’s Polo from JWT at the start of the year.

But the apparently moribund state of JWT London, not only is it apparently incapable of winning local business but it can’t seem to hang on to what it’s got, must be worrying the brains at WPP Towers in Farm Street, just behind the former JWT HQ in Berkeley Square.

To add insult to injury Nestle is one of JWT’s oldest clients as it bought Rowntrees in the UK back in the 1990s which JWT had then handled for 60 years.

But back to the all-conquering South Americans. Just a few years ago it would have been inconceivable to most people in advertising for any such agency to win business in the UK or, indeed, pick up so many awards at Cannes.

If Santo can do the business on Milkybar, a tough task admittedly as despite the fame of the ‘Milkybar Kid’ advertising the product is an acquired taste, then who knows where it might end? The last thing struggling British agencies need is competition from Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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