Bel Brands Puts Creative Account Into Review

Parent of Laughing Cow Cheese Has Worked With DDB, Chicago, Since 2006

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Bel Brands USA, which sells cheese brands Baby Bel, Boursin and Laughing Cow, is conducting a creative agency search, Ad Age has learned.

The account has been at Omnicom's DDB, Chicago, since 2006. According to executives familiar with the matter, Bel Brands is looking primarily at Chicago shops, as the marketer is headquartered there. Although DDB was invited to the pitch, it chose not to participate in the review. Joanne Davis Consulting is overseeing the process.

It's understood that Omnicom sibling OMD, which handles media duties, is unaffected by the review.

Bel Brands did not return calls, and representatives for DDB declined to comment.

The account is a relatively tiny one for DDB, which does marketing for major advertisers such as State Farm, Mars and McDonald's. Bel had domestic measured-media spending of $22 .7 million last year, according to Kantar.

But the move comes as another account at the shop, Cars.com, is in review. It's believed that DDB is not participating there either, though it was invited. The agency's work for Cars.com is expected to run through the end of the year.

Late last year, DDB terminated its global contract with AB InBev, freeing itself up to pursue other beer brands.

DDB, Chicago, is one of the biggest and most important agencies in the network, and CEO Peter McGuinness is in the midst of a turnaround effort. A relatively recent arrival, he has made a number of hires and has been focused on making the shop more competitive on the new-business circuit.

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