NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Wrigley is yanking digital agency-of-record duties from Tribal DDB, Digitas and Agency.com and shifting to a creative shootout strategy between a roster of agencies including independents Big Spaceship and Firstborn, and Omnicom majority-owned EVB, according to executives familiar with the matter.
Calls to Wrigley were not immediately returned.
Yesterday, a memo went out to the confectioner's agency partners that Wrigley will not maintain digital agency-of-record distinctions in 2010 for the majority of its confections, gum and mints brands. Instead, the roster shops will present strategic recommendations across brands and participate in brand planning and execution for particular assignments as needed across websites, display advertising and mobile. The decision was made following a recent review of Wrigley's agency relationships, and the roster was compiled without a pitch.
"The multi-agency roster creates the best opportunity to drive innovation, value and breakthrough execution," said the Wrigley memo.
According to one person familiar with the matter, the digital agencies will work directly with Wrigley's individual brand teams on projects, rather than through its main Omnicom creative agencies, DDB and BBDO.
Big Spaceship; Firstborn; EVB; Omnicom siblings Tribal DDB, TBWA Worldwide and Agency.com; and Publicis Groupe's Digitas declined to comment.
The roster shops, especially Firstborn and Big Spaceship, have a heritage in digital production work and have often partnered with lead agencies to execute highly technical creative ideas. Recently, these small independent operations have been winning increasingly more direct-to-client work. Most recently, Firstborn won direct-to-client digital responsibilities for PepsiCo's Sobe.
Tribal DDB has done work for 5, Orbit, Altoids and Eclipse, and Agency.com has done work for Skittles. Digitas loses digital agency-of-record duties for Starburst and retains all digital media duties for Mars brands.
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Contributing: Jeremy Mullman, Emily Bryson York