Can McVitie’s finally crack the global market?

Biscuit maker McVitie’s, now owned by Turkey’s Yildiz through a new entity called Pladis, is reportedly looking for a new global agency as it targets expansion in the US and other markets. The pitch is being run through The Observatory.

McVitie’s uses Grey in the UK (not affected by this review it seems) and has won some plaudits for its cutesy recent campaigns (below). Which makes it rather odd that Yildiz/Pladis is looking elsewhere for a global agency as they don’t come more global than WPP’s Grey, which is especially strong in the US. But it may be that there’s a conflict somewhere.

McVitie’s is one of the founding brands of United Biscuits, one of those companies that used to dominate advertising-based UK marketing back in the day. Then it was run by high profile Hector Laing (later Lord Laing) but since then UB has had a succession of private equity owners. Other brands include Jacob’s and Twiglets.

Laing’s UB never lacked ambition – at one time it owned frozen food maker Ross and even, bizarrely, Wimpy Bars – but it never quite had the firepower to take on the big US and European food companies. It will be interesting to see if the new Turkish owners can pull it off. If they’re going to succeed in the US they’ll need to find a marketing budget well north of $100m.

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