Reckitt Benckiser Moves Global Creative for Durex, Scholl to Euro RSCG

Shift Follows Marketer's Nearly $4 Billion Acquisition of SSL International

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Reckitt Benckiser has shifted global creative duties for two of its newest brands, Durex and Scholl, to its lead advertising shop, Havas' Euro RSCG Worldwide.

"We are pleased to announce that the two new power brands added to the portfolio post the SSL acquisition will also be handled by Euro," said Rakesh Kapoor, executive VP-category development, at the company. "Brands like Durex and Scholl represent exciting creative possibilities, and this reaffirms our commitment to getting top-notch creative talent to work on our power brands."

The move comes on the heels of Reckitt's nearly $4 billion acquisition of SSL International, which owned Durex, Scholl and other foot-care brands outside the U.S. According to Reckitt, advertising for those brands was previously handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann in certain global markets and will transition to Euro RSCG over the next three to six months.

The U.K.-based marketer has been pumping more money into marketing efforts. Last year, it increased global ad spending 26% to a reported $1.3 billion, which included more than half a billion dollars in the U.S. alone, according to Ad Age's DataCenter. Other global brands in Reckitt's portfolio include Dettol, Lysol, Vanish, Airwick, Finish, Nurofen and Strepsils amongst others.

Reckitt, which employs about 25,000 people worldwide, with operations in more than 60 countries and sales in almost 200 countries, earlier this month posted a 19% jump in third-quarter net income to $683.3 million -- an increase that CEO Bart Brecht attributed partly to improving performance in emerging markets. The company has been growing via acquisition in the past five years, with the SSL purchase the most recent. Before that came the $2.3 billion purchase in 2008 of Adams Respiratory Therapeutics, marketer of Mucinex, and the 2006 buy of Boots Healthcare International, the consumer health-care unit of U.K.-based Boots Group. The acquired Boots brands included Clearasil, an acne skin-care brand that Boots had purchased from Procter & Gamble Co. in 2000.

The shift to Euro means that most of Reckitt's global creative work is now consolidated at at the Havas network. It follows a consolidation on the media side a year ago that saw the buying and planning duties split between Havas' and Publicis' media groups.

"The opportunity to deliver great creative across all channels and leverage our 'digital at the core' model is the kind of challenge our people want," David Jones, global CEO of Havas Worldwide and Euro RSCG Worldwide, said in a statement. Interestingly, as part of Euro's contract with Reckitt, there is a "challenger clause" that permits external agency partners to permit creative ideas, but only on a project basis.

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