Henkel Hands Laundry, Home-Care Brands to Pereira & O'Dell

After University of Phoenix Loss, San Francisco-based Shop Picks Up a New Account

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Henkel Consumer Goods has shifted creative duties for its laundry and home-care brands, including Purex, Renuzit and Soft Scrub, to San Francisco-based Pereira & O' Dell.

Purex was previously handled by Energy BBDO, the Chicago hub of the BBDO agency network, owned by Omnicom Group. Renuzit and Soft Scrub did not have agency-of -record relationships, and work was handled on an assignment basis.

The move comes as a part of an effort to consolidate advertising duties within a single consumer segment under one roof. "Part of what we're doing is bringing together brands that have been without an agency of record and have been working ad hoc," Eric Schwartz, general manager of laundry and home care at Henkel Consumer Goods, told Ad Age , adding, "we are getting more consistent representation for our smaller brands."

Mr. Schwartz has been with the company for more than seven years, but these agency changes come after he added home-care duties to his remit this past fall.

In reference to the parting with BBDO, he said: "It was a several-year relationship that was quite successful, and we decided mutually to separate as we were pulling together all the brands and looking for a new partnership." Asked whether BBDO's win of business from competitor SC Johnson last year, which it won along with WPP's Ogilvy, played into the change, Mr. Schwartz said no: "We did not consider an opportunity [for BBDO] as a conflict."

Pereira & O' Dell will be responsible for developing TV, print, out of home and digital assets including social and mobile efforts. New work for Purex from EnergyBBDO is already in the pipeline and will be released later this year, while the first campaigns from Pereira & O' Dell for all three brands will be released in late 2012 or early 2013, Mr. Schwartz said.

"They have been really media-agnostic in their approach and nimble in how they go to market with nontraditional brands," said Mr. Schwartz of his new agency. "We consider ourselves a group of nontraditional, underdog brands ... and we are super-aligned with the way they work and excited about the partnership."

The timing is good for the agency, which just lost one of its founding clients, University of Phoenix. Earlier this week, Pereira & O' Dell's chief, Andrew O' Dell, spoke to Ad Age about the loss, noting at the time that it would be offset by new-business wins in the pipeline but declined to identify what any of them were.

According to data from Kantar, U.S. measured media spending for Purex, Renuzit and Soft Scrub was a total of nearly $30 million in 2010, the last full-year available. For Dusseldorf, Germany-based Henkel, North America is a fast-growing market. Currently it's responsible for approximately 20% of worldwide sales.

Said Mr. Schwartz: "Our spending has increased year-on-year and we anticipate that it will continue to do so. We are on a great run of organic growth. Continuing to invest in businesses that are growing is part of anyone's strategy, and certainly ours. We have a story to tell."

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