Hair and Skin Care Giant Kao Ends Decade-Long Relationship with KBS, Starts Creative Review

Last March, Kao Selected Spark and Digitas to Handle Media and Digital-Creative

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Japanese cosmetics and skincare giant Kao is reviewing its global creative business upon ending its decade-long relationship with KBS.

Joanne Davis Consulting and SCAN International are supporting the search, which is expected to conclude by May 2014, the company said in a statement.

The company is looking for an agency to support its John Frieda, Jergens, Biore and Curel brands.

"We are deeply grateful to KBS+P and their partnership for the past ten years," said Dave Muenz, regional executive officer for Kao's Mass business sector, which houses skincare and haircare brands. "We have had a good run and look forward to selecting a new agency partner."

"The two organizations have worked together for over ten years and jointly decided to go in other directions," said a KBS spokeswoman.

Last March, Kao selected Publicis Groupe agencies Spark and Digitas to handle its media and digital-creative accoutns. That selection followed a review indicating the company's desire to "consolidate traditional media and digital media/marketing with a single agency lead," according to an RFI document that Ad Age obtained at the time.

Between January and November this year, Kao spent $130 million on measured media in the U.S.

Kao USA is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Kao Corporation. KBS is an MDC & Partners shop.

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