Reckitt, a household-cleaning giant with brands like Dettol, Harpic and Airwick, kicked off the review earlier this year with the goal of reducing its agency roster, consisting of Euro, WPP Group's JWT, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson from three to two. Those plans changed, however, when longtime Interpublic client and Reckitt rival SC Johnson complained to Interpublic executives about McCann's participation, leading the agency to effectively withdraw from the review.
Reckitt declined to comment. Calls to agency representatives weren't returned by press time.
McCann was added to the roster early this year when Reckitt bought client Boots Healthcare International for $3.3 billion. McCann had handled Boots Healthcare, whose brands include Clearasil.
This was the agency's second go-around with Reckitt: McCann worked with Reckitt until 2001, when conflict issues arose with Interpublic's acquisition of True North Communications. (True North's Foote Cone & Belding network handled advertising duties for SC Johnson.) McCann was forced to resign the Reckitt account, estimated then at $150 million, and JWT and Euro RSCG picked up the business.
CEO leads pitch
Euro RSCG Worldwide CEO David Jones, who has close ties to Reckitt, led the agency's pitch, working closely with Kate Robertson, the current account chief. The agency has worked on Reckitt alongside JWT for three years, and eventually with McCann.
Mr. Jones could not be reached for comment.
Euro works on brands including Airwick, Electrasol, Jet Dri and French's Mustard in the U.S. JWT has handled Lysol, Veet and Dettol around the world.
Reckitt-Benkiser is one of Advertising Age's top 25 global marketers, with 2004 ad spending of $1.2 billion, according to Ad Age estimates.
Emma Hall contributed to this report.