Kraft Reviews Global Milka Chocolate Account

Ogilvy Is Incumbent, but Food Marketer Has Lots of Agencies on Roster

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Kraft Foods is reviewing the global creative account for its Milka chocolate brand, currently handled by WPP's Ogilvy & Mather and run out of the agency's Paris office. As a marketer that spreads its business broadly among agencies at all the major holding companies, the field is wide open for a new shop for Milka.

The review kicks off as Kraft's chairman and CEO, Irene Rosenfeld, outlined the company's global growth strategy, which is focused on building what it describes as "power brands," at a meeting with analysts and investors earlier this week. Milka is designated as one of five global snacks power brands. The other four cited by Kraft are Cadbury chocolate, which Kraft acquired earlier this year when it took over the British confectioner of the same name; Trident chewing gum; and cookie brands Oreo and Lu.

"Today's Kraft Foods is a global snacks powerhouse with an unrivaled portfolio of leading regional and local brands," Ms. Rosenfeld said at the meeting. "This unique and complementary combination, together with our significant presence in high-growth developing markets, will deliver consistent growth in the top tier of our peer group."

A Kraft spokesperson confirmed the global review for Milka, but wouldn't discuss who might be pitching for the business. In Ad Age's annual Top Global Marketers report, Kraft Foods ranks No. 18 with annual ad spending of $1.8 billion, more than half of it outside the U.S. Ogilvy has held a declining share of Kraft's business over the last few years, although its still handles international beverage, coffee and confectionery assignments. Kraft also works internationally with Ogilvy's WPP siblings JWT, Young & Rubicam and Wunderman; Interpublic's McCann Erickson and DraftFCB; and Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi. In the U.S., Kraft has been giving more business to McGarryBowen, and also works with Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

In the statement about the global strategy meeting, Kraft said that following the Cadbury acquisition, the high-growth and high-margin snacks category now accounts for more than half of the company's total revenue. The company also pledged to continue investing in marketing and innovation for the larger regional "power brands" -- including Oscar Mayer meats, Jacobs coffee and Tang powdered beverages -- and to keep popular local brands such as Dairylea cheese in the U.K. and Australian spread Vegemite.

More than half Kraft's revenue now comes from outside North America, and by 2013 sales from developing markets, including Brazil, China and Mexico, are likely to increase from a quarter of Kraft's total revenue to about one-third.

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