Unilever shapes deal to bring in Dutch hot shop Alfred to boost Lowe & Partners

Marcel van Wing and creative Aad Kuijper (pictured) quit Lowe & Partners in the Netherlands two years ago to set up creative hot shop Alfred, much to the disappointment of Unilever it would seem.

Roster-bound Unilever, headquartered in Rotterdam and London, has now brokered a deal that has seen the formation of [email protected], allowing it to use the agency’s talents via the Lowe network.

Why it couldn’t just give the new agency some business is a bit of a mystery although it looks like an effort to boost struggling Lowe at the same time. Unilever appears to be a committed Lowe fan although it’s now one of the Interpublic-owned agency’s few remaining global accounts.

Alfred will remain independent apart from the Unilever work.

Lowe chairman Tony Wright has been labouring hard to re-invent Lowe. In the UK owner Interpublic shelled out £20m to buy Delaney Lund Knox Warren from Don Elgie’s Creston only to see its biggest account, £25m Halifax, walk to Adam & Eve this week.

In the US the agency has merged with Deutsch. In Amsterdam it previously lodged with another troubled Interpublic agency DraftFCB.

Unilever treating Lowe like a house agency is no surprise, years ago part of it was. Sir Frank Lowe’s Lowe Group bought US agency SSC&B Lintas decades ago. The Lintas stood for Lever (as in the old Lever Brothers soap business) International Advertising Services, Unilever’s house agency.

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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.