UNILEVER MOVES SLIM-FAST TO OGILVY FROM GREY

Execs Deny Account Conflicts Were Issue

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Unilever has transferred its global creative business for Slim-Fast from Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide to WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, the marketer said in a statement.

The move comes just weeks after Slim-Fast's

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new low-sugar, high-calcium Optima Diet plan hit stores. The product line is a move to address the low-carb craze that has recently eaten into Slim-Fast's business.

WPP purchase of Grey
The switch also follows last month's news of WPP's plans to purchase Grey Global. However, an executive familiar with the matter said the decision on Slim-Fast was made before the transaction was announced.

One of Grey's major global clients is Procter & Gamble Co., a Unilever rival. "Martin [Sorrell, WPP's chief executive] made it very clear that Grey would be a stand-alone entity for P&G," said one executive familiar with the matter. Unilever has owned Slim-Fast since 2000; Grey had handled creative for the brand since 1987.

New creative for Optima is expected for what is deemed the prime diet season of December and January.

Spokesmen for Grey and Ogilvy referred calls to the marketer.