Ogilvy Resigns Kraft's Honey Maid Account

WPP Agency Has All but Parted Ways With Kraft Domestically

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In a move that leaves Ogilvy with no Kraft business in the U.S., the WPP agency has resigned the Honey Maid graham crackers account, which it picked up less than a year ago.

Ogilvy remains a key agency for Kraft abroad, working on accounts, such as Cadbury and Tang, that are big in global markets.

The decision by Ogilvy management to resign the Honey Maid business was shared with staffers at the agency today via a memo. The agency won the business last summer, but according to the note, the relationship frayed because of conflicts over the creative work. An Ogilvy spokeswoman confirmed the news in the memo but would not provide more detail.

"Ogilvy did some work on a project basis for Honey Maid but is no longer working on the brand," a spokesman for Kraft Foods told Ad Age . He added that Honey Maid doesn't have an agency at this time.

Spending for the brand has been negligible, according to both Kraft and TNS data. It remains to be seen if that will remain the case or if Kraft -- in keeping with its recently adopted "Operation Spark" strategy of pairing smaller or underinvested brands with new, independent shops -- will eventually give the assignment to a boutique agency.

Honey Maid is the leading graham-cracker brand in the U.S., with a 45% market share. It had more than $120 million in sales in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 31, 2011, according to SymphonyIRI, which excludes Walmart Stores.

For Ogilvy, the split is symbolic of a union that once loomed large but has now largely evaporated in the U.S. in the wake of a series of account shifts. Last month Kraft gave the Capri Sun and Kool-Aid business that had been at Ogilvy to Publicis Groupe 's Saatchi & Saatchi. It previously awarded accounts that had been at Ogilvy to Dentsu's McGarryBowen and to Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide. Abroad, Milka, which had been managed by Ogilvy, Paris, went to MDC Partners' CP&B.

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