Nestle USA has announced a wide-ranging review of its $800m or so ad budget, starting with media currently handled by Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia.
Other bits of the account including creative, digital and PR are likely to follow. Nestle’s US creative agencies include DraftFCB, Goodby Silverstein, JWT and Publicis. Publicis Groupe, which has always had the closest of relationships with Nestle across the world, has the most to lose.
Nestle is the world’s biggest food company with $10bn sales in North America. Rival Unilever recently completed a global media review and left its accounts mostly where they were (chiefly WPP’s Mindshare) although no doubt rates were reduced. Rival Kraft and recently spun-off snacks business Mondelez have also been ringing the changes on their creative rosters.
Why all this activity? As the world tries desperately to claw its way out of the financial crisis it’s likely that all these companies are mainly concerned with saving money.
But Kraft and Mondelez have also shown that even food behemoths can benefit from freshening up their creative agency rosters with some bright new sparks, most notably Droga5. Mondelez has also given its Oreo Super Bowl assignment to creative agency-of-the-moment Wieden+Kennedy.
This won’t have gone unnoticed by new US boss Grimwood, who used to run Nestle in the UK and Ireland. Nestle advertising is hardly known for creativity although campaigns like George Clooney for Nespresso have been undeniably successful outside the US.