Alberto-Culver Moves $250 Million Global Creative Duties to Arnold, Mullen

First Review in Decade Ousts Campbell-Mithun; Media Search Still Ongoing

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SAN DIEGO (AdAge.com) -- Alberto-Culver Co. has split global creative duties on its $250 million global advertising account between Arnold Worldwide, New York, and Mullen, Winston-Salem, N.C., following its first global review in a decade, the company said.

The media portion of Alberto-Culver's review is continuing and expected to conclude by the end of the month.

Effective immediately, Havas' Arnold picks up the global skin-care business, including St. Ives and Noxzema, as well as salon and ultra-premium mass brand Nexxus. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen picks up Alberto-Culver's biggest and fastest-growing brand, Tresemme.

The latter brand in particular has been a focal point for the company in recent years, as it has seen growing shares in the U.S. and been the company's primary driver of global expansion in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Losing out in the process is Interpublic's Campbell-Mithun, Minneapolis, which previously had duties for both Tresemme and Nexxus.

"We're very proud of how we partnered with them to grow their business and their brands over the last 12 years," said Campbell-Mithun CEO Steve Wehrenberg.

Asked if losing the account would lead to job cuts, Mr. Wehrenberg said it would depend on whether the agency triumphed in an ongoing new-business pitch that would "more than offset" the lost revenue from Alberto-Culver if it came through. He declined to identify that client, citing a non-disclosure agreement.

Alberto-Culver's skin-care business had been without a creative agency of record since earlier this year, when the company and Wieden & Kennedy, New York, had what was described as a mutual parting of ways.

Aegis Group's Carat is the incumbent on Alberto-Culver's media business.

"Alberto-Culver has a vision to be the fastest-growing, most respected beauty-care company globally," Gina Boswell, president-global brands for the company, said in an e-mail statement. "In an effort to realize this stature, we embarked on our first global creative review in more than a decade."

Alberto-Culver spent $240 million on global advertising last year and has averaged around $250 million annually over the past three years, according to company financial reports.

Arnold previously handled Procter & Gamble Co.'s Tag men's deodorant brand, which might have presented a conflict, but Tag had previously moved to Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, and a P&G spokesman said the brand is being phased out as the company focuses instead on global brands, including Old Spice.

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Contributing: Michael Bush

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