Wieden+Kennedy leads contenders for BBDO’s flagship $300m Gillette account

Procter & Gamble is reviewing its massive Gillette shaving business currently at BBDO. Omnicom-owned BBDO is going to defend the account and will face competition from roster agency groups Publicis, WPP (mainly a Unilever agency so this will be interesting) and current flavour of the moment in Cincinnati, Wieden+Kennedy. Gillette spends about $300m annually at the moment but this is sure to increase with a new agency and a replacement for premium brand Fusion on the way in the next couple of years.

Officially the review is North America only at the moment but it is almost certain to include other markets too. AMV/BBDO handles Gillette in the UK.

P&G marketing boss Marc Pritchard says: “We’re really looking for some fresh thinking. Work has been good, but we’re looking for great.” Which rather makes it look as though the ball’s in W+K’s court. W+K made its way onto the P&G roster with Old Spice and has since handled the company’s highly successful sponsorship campaign for the London Olympics. Old Spice client James Moorhead moved to Gillette about 15 months ago but he’s since moved to become marketing boss of US satellite TV company Dish.

Gillette isn’t quite the cash cow it was when P&G bought it for $68bn in 2005. Outrageously expensive shaving ‘systems’ like Fusion have come under pressure from cheaper brands and online sales. Through BBDO it has been running its ‘The best a man can get’ campaign which, as Pritchard says, has hardly been great.

But W+K won’t have things all its own way. BBDO is capable of much better and the two big marcoms groups will be fielding their top teams. Unilever, though, may take a dim view of WPP possibly becoming a major P&G agency group (at the moment it has just a foothold with Grey).

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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.